We just finished watching a White House battle play out in public between Reince Priebus and Anthony Scaramucci which saw them both lose their jobs over it. Now John Kelly has been tasked with bringing cohesion to Donald Trump’s broken administration. But Kelly has already proven that he can’t stop a new staff war between Steve Bannon and H.R. McMaster, which could also soon see them both gone – and it’s become clear that Donald Trump is too far gone to care.
There have been burgeoning rumors for weeks that Chief Strategist Bannon and National Security Adviser McMaster could each end up being ousted in the overall senior staff purge that’s recently taken down at least half a dozen top Trump officials. It’s still not entirely clear who started the battle between them or why, but they now each appear to be trying to destroy the other in order to protect themselves. Over the past two weeks McMaster has fired three Bannon loyalists from the the National Security Council (link), including Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who was long thought to be untouchable.
At the same time, Russian trolls and bots have begun trying to create public sentiment on social media for McMaster’s ouster, which at this point would only serve to benefit Bannon, raising the question of whether Bannon is now working with the Kremlin to oust McMaster (link). Donald Trump’s White House suffers from such a stunning lack of professionalism and oversight that this kind of demented feud between McMaster and Bannon has served to overrun any actual White House agenda.
It’a also become clear that a deteriorating Donald Trump is now way too far gone to control the monsters he’s built. He’s long alternated between relying on Bannon’s advice and resenting his own dependence on Bannon, but now he no longer seems to care what happens. Instead Trump is on an absurdly timed multi-week vacation, tweeting today that it’s “not a vacation” while in the middle of a round of golf. Trump’s White House is on fire, and he’s pouting in New Jersey.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report