It has often been noted that the Donald, a.k.a President Trump, likes operating in chaos. Well then, he must have loved last week. Sure, he denied the chaos, but really, at this point does anyone other than his brain washed base believe anything he says?
At least this week began with the hope for more order in the White House in the form of General Kelly, the new Chief of Staff selected to replace Reince Priebus whom I had some sympathy for until he praised little Donnie’s unmatched “political instincts” on his way out the door.
What is wrong with you, Reince? He buried you totally with the help of his mud slinging “id”, Anthony Scaramucci, the new (oops, gone) director of White House communications. And you walk out the door emphasizing Trump’s bright side?
Yes, Trump’s instincts got him the presidency, I’ll give him that. But his primary instinct is to keep feeding his base alone, and distorting the truth regularly to do so, as if their opinion alone will constitute a great presidency.
Given his stellar record of competency and integrity, General Kelly may bring some order to the chaos, but only if the Donald will be willing to abide by some discipline for a change. That possibility usually provokes smiles and titters. How do you get a guy who loves chaos to embrace discipline?
Well, maybe he surrounds himself with military figures and he comes to accept them reining him in. That’s not likely, but it seemed to work when he was a kid. And, as I think of him as around 13 in stunted emotional growth, it might work again….for awhile. Trump wrote years ago that “As an adolescent, I was mostly interested in creating mischief.” Seems to me he still has some of that, but he straightened out after his father sent him to a military academy when he was 13. Though rebellious at first, he later thrived under the discipline there.
I’m going to play penny psychologist and theorize that because it worked to his benefit once, subconsciously the Donnie might actually want to be constrained as he was in military school, as it led to success. Note all the generals he has accumulated at the top. General Mattis as Secretary of Defense, General McMasters as security adviser, and now General Kelly, formerly head of Homeland Security, as his chief of staff. I wonder whether he will replace Kelly with another General, or at least one with a military background such as CIA Director Mike Pompeo has.
Maybe at some deep level, below all the braggadocio and blaming of others Trump knows his presidency is sinking. Perhaps Trump actually realizes that things have gotten out of hand at the White House and like in his early teens he needs some discipline to set things right. Certainly Kelly has started off on the right foot in getting the foul mouthed, just hired Scaramucci fired. Unlike Priebus, Kelly is the kind of guy that will push back on the president in the way his teachers and commanders did at the military school. I think we will see some more order in the White House for awhile.
But there are three flies in my theoretical ointment. One is the habit of Trump and his spokes people to lie. I don’t know how Kelly can control that. Also, unlike at the military school, Trump can fire Kelly or other commanders once he gets tired of feeling hemmed in. And even if Kelly produces a miracle of organization, there are the conclusions of the Mueller investigation laying dead ahead some months in the future, an iceberg that looks impossible to avoid.
If Mueller comes up with a bevy of unsavory business and political activities of the Trump clan – like many of us think he will – no amount of discipline in the White House will save the president.
P. S. – By the way, the military flavor of the Trump administration goes well beyond the top picks, as described in this article. Also, Trump’s version of military school is he was an unblemished success. Others there differ about that as discussed here.
If you want a brief bio of General Kelly read this. Besides his decades of highly regarded service and sense of integrity two points stick out: “Kelly has taken a hard stance on border security and support for the military. He has supported Trump’s plan to construct a wall along the United States border with Mexico.” However, I would add Kelly’s version of a “wall” is not a wall per se but various measures to increase border security, including hiring more border agents.