There is no more sure sign that things are about to turn catastrophically ugly for an administration than when its top officials suddenly start deciding to quit in rapid fashion – particularly when they’re not connected to each other, and not all of them are even connected to the scandals in play. Something is clearly in play in the Donald Trump administration, because four of his key officials have all decided to quit in the past two days – and we think we see a clear pattern.
It all began on Wednesday evening, when CBS News reported that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her deputy Raj Shah were both preparing to resign. She denied the report, but her calamitous press briefing yesterday made pretty clear that she’s a goner. Then on Thursday afternoon, the Wall Street Journal reported that White House legislative liaison Marc Short was planning to quit. Now the Daily Beast is reporting that Trump’s assistant spokeswoman Kelly Love is also leaving the White House. Why?
Each of these departures has its own individual drama. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ entire staff appears to be revolting against her. Marc Short is frustrated that Trump has given up trying to pass legislation. But when this many key people all start heading for the exits at once, it means something helped to trigger it all. There is no escaping the fact that this mass exodus began just hours after it was reported that Michael Cohen was planning to cut a plea deal against Donald Trump.
We’ll see what Michael Cohen is up to. He faces an evidence deadline today that could get him arrested, and he made the bonkers move last night of filing for a restraining order against Michael Avenatti. Will he cut a deal today? Won’t he? Either way, the minute word started to spread that Cohen was caving, Donald Trump’s own people quickly began plotting their exit strategies. We’re now at four key departures in forty-eight hours. Who will be the fifth?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report