The administration of popular vote loser Donald Trump is nothing if not incredibly dysfunctional. A recent span of 24 hours from earlier this week is one of the best examples of that we’ve ever seen.
MSNBC contributor and Democratic Coalition co-founder Scott Dworkin summarizes the dysfunction: “In the last 24 hours we’ve learned Hope Hicks is resigning, HR McMaster is on his way out, Gary Cohn is looking to leave after losing the tariff battle, Jared Kushner’s been selling his role at the White House to the highest bidder & Donald Trump’s gone further off the deep end.”
Communications Director Hope Hicks wants out, or is being pushed out, one day after her testimony to congressional investigators (nothing fishy there, right?) as CNN explains:
A tearful Hicks announced her departure to the White House communications team Wednesday afternoon, a source inside the room told CNN. She referenced how many years she had worked for Trump, said she has always wanted the best for him and that she felt like now was the right time to go — which some in the room took as a reference to the speculation she’s leaving in light of her testimony. She thanked the team and said she will miss them all.
NBC News explains the McMaster part of the story:
The White House is preparing to replace H.R. McMaster as national security adviser as early as next month in a move orchestrated by chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis, according to five people familiar with the discussions.
The move would be the latest in a long string of staff shake-ups at the White House over the past year and comes after months of strained relations between the president and McMaster.
A leading candidate to become President Donald Trump’s third national security adviser is the auto industry executive Stephen Biegun, according to the officials.
Trump and the White House have allegedly called the NBC report “Fake News” and say that Trump is happy with the job McMaster is doing. That right there sounds like the kiss of death. Nice knowing you, McMaster.
As for Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic advisor, it looks like he’s mad about Trump imposing steep tariffs and taking his ball and going home. He’d been on board trying to keep Trump from doing just that for months, and has lost that fight, as Politico explains:
In a meeting with steel industry executives, Trump announced plans for a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.
The decision came after a frantic 24 hours in which Cohn and others tried to talk Trump off the ledge. At one point, aides were sure Trump would make the announcement. Then they said he wouldn’t. Finally, sitting alongside steel executives, he did.
The Dow promptly tanked over 500 points, and Cohn’s allies began wondering if this would be the final insult sending the director of the National Economic Council to the exit.
One person close to Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive, said he wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually left the chaotic and deeply exhausting administration as a result of the decision. A second person close to Cohn described it as a brutal blow that violated one of the NEC director’s core beliefs—that protectionism is economically backward and won’t lead to increased prosperity.
At this rate, the Trump administration will have completely turned over by the end of year two. If he makes it that long.