Sometimes a development stands out as being odd and significant, even if you can’t quite put your finger on what’s really going on. Amid reports that a flailing Donald Trump is on the verge of firing nearly his entire slate of top advisers and starting over, you’d think they’d be laying low. But instead, they’re eagerly clamoring to go along with him on his overseas trip this week. The question is why?
In a new report, Politico is describing Trump’s top advisers as “eager” to go along on the trip, and lists off a far larger redundant number of advisers than would be needed (link). The most simple theory is they’re all figuring that if they stay in his ear during the trip, perhaps they can convince him to fire other people instead.
But I’m not sure this notion holds up, because the law of averages says that some of them would decide to stay behind in the hope that staying away from Trump’s inevitable overseas gaffes and controversies is the best way to keep their jobs. After all, he’s more likely to blame the people who are at his side while he creates these embarrassing international incidents. So if it’s not related to hirings and firings, then why is Trump’s staff so eager leave the country with him?
The most wild eyed theory would be that they’re afraid of whatever the authorities might have up their sleeve for while Donald Trump is out of the country, as we’ve documented here. But unless there are new-ish obstruction indictments that we’re not aware of, Trump’s current advisers are not the people most likely targeted by the grand juries already underway; his former advisers and associates would be the most likely short term targets.
Who knows, really. Maybe they all just want a free trip overseas. Maybe they’ve figured that since they’re all going to be fired soon, and Trump himself might end up resigning as his scandals spiral out of control, so they might as well make sure they go overseas with him while they still can. But really, it feels like there’s more to this. These are people who should know enough to be laying low and avoiding Trump right now. Come to think of it, perhaps he’s come to distrust his own staff in such a fit of paranoia that he’s refusing to allow them to remain behind at the White House for a week without him. In any case, keep an eye on this one as the trip gets underway, because something feels off.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report