Friday, March 02, 2018

Spineless



It was (in a metaphor President Trump surely would understand) par for the course when

In a meeting with steel industry executives, Trump announced plans for a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.

The decision came after a frantic 24 hours in which Cohn and others tried to talk Trump off the ledge. At one point, aides were sure Trump would make the announcement. Then they said he wouldn’t. Finally, sitting alongside steel executives, he did.





They thought they had won him over. But of course, the decision was subject to change and would depend on who Trump would speak to last on the subject.

That is conventional, and largely accurate, wisdom about how Donald Trump operates. The other day, he advocated confiscation of weapons (from the allegedly mentally ill) without due process. then meets with the NRA and its chief lobbyist is convinced Trump (and Pence) "support the Second Amendment, support strong due process and don’t want gun control."

They're the last people to talk to the President on the issue. Still, it's significant that in a meeting with members of Congress, a few of  them Democrats committed to gun safety legislation, he had struck a far different tone. He may be overly susceptible to persuasion, yet also loathe to disagree with or contradict whomever he's talking to. In additional drama

Privately, some aides have expressed frustration that Mr. Kushner and his wife, the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, have remained at the White House, despite Mr. Trump at times saying they never should have come to the White House and should leave. Yet aides also noted that Mr. Trump has told the couple that they should keep serving in their roles, even as he has privately asked Mr. Kelly for his help in moving them out.

No doubt he wants them out. He simply wants someone else to tell them.

Donald Trump rarely has the courage to face anyone one-on-one and criticize him or her, except on the make-believe "Apprentice." There, he was all about creating a fake persona, the guy willing and able to confront anyone at any time and deliver the hard truth.

In real life, that's the last thing Trump wants, or is willing, to do.  You will remember from May Keith Schiller, who was

the President's longtime bodyguard who has risen from part-time hired muscle to director of Oval Office operations.

That status was cemented on Tuesday when the former New York Police Department officer hand-delivered a letter from the President firing FBI director James Comey, entering the FBI headquarters with a manila folder and leaving without it.

Most people would think that firing the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation warranted a more personal touch, or at least dismissal by the President himself. However, Trump has hardly changed his procedure and

President Donald Trump, frustrated by his staff's handling of the abuse allegations against Rob Porter, is increasingly venting about Chief of Staff John Kelly and speculating about potential replacements, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

Kelly said Friday evening that he had not offered to resign, although a source acknowledged that he is always willing to leave if that's what the president wants.

That was an NBC News report from over three weeks ago. Chaos in the Administration has only increased, Kelly joke (sort of) that his job is "punishment from God" and as of Friday morning,he is still Chief of Staff to Donald J. Trump

That may change soon.  If he leaves, Kelly can almost write his own ticket (as long as he doesn't have to deal with blacks or immigrants) and may resign. But an order to dismiss the Chief of Staff can come only from the office of the Presidency- and the guy currently occuping that office would have to grow a backbone first.




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