Just how unsure is Donald Trump about what to do with Michael Flynn, now that his National Security Advisor has been caught illegally colluding with the Russian ambassador? Yesterday, Trump told his staff that he was banning Flynn from the White House – a stunningly strange development considering how vital the National Security Advisor role is supposed to be. And yet during Trump’s press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today, Michael Flynn was right there in the front row.
Trump privately told his own people yesterday that Michael Flynn is “no longer welcome in the White House” – as reported by The Week – which means that we shouldn’t be seeing Flynn’s face right now at a White House press conference. That means Trump has changed his mind already, perhaps concluding that it would arouse more suspicion if Flynn wasn’t there. Or maybe Flynn threatened to spill the beans unless Trump rescinded the ban. But what now? Will Flynn be allowed in the White House so he can do his job, or will be only be allowed in for photo ops and the sake of appearances? In any case, Flynn hasn’t been fired – and that tells us something as well.
Donald Trump now has no idea what to do with Michael Flynn. He’s angry at the guy for sloppily getting caught calling the Russian ambassador on an unsecured line and blowing open the whole scandal. He knows Flynn is an erratically unpredictable (and now compromised) loon, whose continued presence in the administration is an increasingly liability. And he knows that if he fires Flynn, he’s likely going down with him. So Trump is hoping that this half-solution of banning him from the White House, but not really banning him, and letting him keep his title, will put the genie back in the bottle. It won’t, at least not for long.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report