This week, President Trump entertained the leaders of Germany and France and honored French President Emmanuel Macron with the first state dinner of his administration.
His new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, was finally confirmed and off on his first foreign journey. The confirmation became possible only when President Trump personally convinced Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to switch his vote.
His pick for ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, the most prominent openly gay appointee in the Trump administration and one gay rights activists say “sends an important message to the LGBTQ community about their place in the Trump administration,” according to HuffPost.
The diplomatic initiative the president began on the Korean peninsula bore historic fruit on Thursday when Kim Jong Un crossed into South Korea to negotiate an end to the Korean War and the denuclearization of the peninsula.
Reports from the Washington Post depicted a different reality.
“The final week of April was designed to be a triumphant one for President Trump,” it led its front-page story on Friday. “ … But instead, it became yet another week in which the Trump administration was convulsed by chaos and contradiction.”
“A darkening cloud hung over Trump’s Cabinet on Thursday, as he had to abruptly withdraw his nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, Ronny L. Jackson, amid explosive allegations of poor conduct and negligence as the president’s personal physician. Jackson said the allegations were false but still took his name out of consideration for the VA job.”
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who “struggled Thursday before a Senate committee to answer for his ethical lapses and profligate spending” and had anonymous White House staffers rooting for him to “screw up so we can get him out of here” because of the “brutal” tension between Pruitt and the West Wing.
Mick Mulvaney, who runs the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of Management and Budget, who apparently let slip that he prioritized meetings with lobbyists who gave him campaign contributions.
“The Cabinet struggles do not end there,” the Post said.
Gina Haspel’s nomination to become CIA director is “imperiled,” they wrote, and an anonymous “senior administration official” said she will “have to have a “near-perfect performance’” to be confirmed.” The CIA director is not a member of the Cabinet.
And they said it was bad news Pompeo got confirmed because it did not come easily. The confirmation “was so uncertain that on Monday Trump had to personally lobby Paul to table his objections and vote to approve Pompeo.”
The Post then quoted an anonymous “Trump adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer a candid assessment,” saying, “It’s a joke. The whole thing is a joke.”
“We’re living in a season of corruption the likes of which we haven’t seen but in a banana republic,” Sen. John McCain’s (R.-Ariz.) campaign director told the Post. “Everywhere you look you see incompetence, malfeasance, self-dealing and corruption.”
“The responses to this week’s convulsions were being personally directed by Trump,” the Post reported. He has been “acting as his own strategist and making decisions unilaterally – sometimes to the surprise of senior staffers.”