For all his erratic behavior, Donald Trump is often quite predictable. He locks himself into familiar patterns of responses that we all see coming, allowing us to sometimes know what he’s going to say or do before even he knows. This is not necessarily one of those times, because Trump has finally entered uncharted territory for the first time in a little while. Of the two people he actually seemed to want around, he just lost one in ugly fashion, and he’s halfway to losing the other.
We’re talking, of course, about Hope Hicks and Ivanka Trump. It’s not even worth trying to explore the creepy feelings that he seems to have toward them both; the bottom line is that he has long been relying on the two of them to get him through the day. John Kelly tries to keep the White House from burning down, but Hope and Ivanka have been trying to keep Trump from burning himself down. That’s a real problem for him now, because Hicks just abruptly resigned in dust cloud of controversy, and Trump just made a move to shove Ivanka’s husband out the door, which can only lead to Ivanka leaving as well.
On some level it could be argued that Trump is, consciously or subconsciously, trying to preemptively destroy everything he cares about as his Russia crimes come ever closer to unraveling his life and sending him to prison. Hicks was five minutes away from having to cut a plea deal. Trump knew it, which is why he had his House Intel puppets haul her in for questioning; when she refused to answer their questions, it was clear enough that she was indeed flipping. Trump then reportedly chewed her out for having admitted to the committee that she often told little “white lies” to cover for him, but this explosion was likely a product of Trump’s frustration at having just realized that she really was going to sell him out Robert Mueller.
Jared Kushner is coming ever closer to having to cut a plea deal as well. And he was always going to go that route in the end, right? He’d rather lose his father-in-law and risk losing his marriage than spend the next thirty years rotting in prison. Trump’s refusal to grant Kushner permanent security clearance, and his decision to let John Kelly revoke Kushner’s provisional security clearance, seemed to be a way of punishing Kushner for what Kushner is about to do to him.
Regardless of how and why it happened, the bottom line is that Donald Trump just lost Hope Hicks from his life, and began the process of permanently alienating Ivanka. He’s chased away so many advisers, some of whom he appeared to like having around, we’ve lost count. But these were the two he was always eager to rely upon, the two that seemed to be slightly protecting him from his increasingly overwhelming desire to self destruct. So now that he’s just cost himself what little he still seemed to care about, what’s his next desperate move? I’m honestly not sure, and I doubt he has a clue either. All I know is that it’ll involve more self-sabotage than ever. Welcome to the truly freaky part of Trump’s freak show.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report