On the morning after President Trump’s appearance at the Gridiron Dinner, the Washington Post published a story to assure us this president is not normal, and his moods have become so dark and erratic as to endanger national security.
There’s a new “air of anxiety and volatility – with an uncontrollable commander in chief at its center,” reported Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey of the Washington Post in a story headlined, “Aides see a president isolated and on edge” in the Sunday print edition and “‘Pure madness’: Dark days inside the White House as Trump shocks and rages.”
Aides such as White House counsel Donald McGahn and national economic council director Gary Cohn are unhappy because they’re not being listened to. John Kelly is safe for now as chief of staff, to which he quipped, “God punished me.”
Morale, according to an unnamed source, “is the worst it’s ever been.”
The named sources are either people with liberal networks, Bush White House officials angry they were pushed aside by President Trump, and people such as Trump’s friend, Chris Ruddy, whose comments don’t back the thesis of the story at all.
But first, the stage was set with anonymous sources – 22 of them, the Post tells us, who “spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss Trump’s state of mind.”
“These are the darkest days in at least half a year, they say, and they worry just how much further President Trump and his administration may plunge into unrest and malaise before they start to recover,” Rucker, Parker and Dawsey wrote. “As one official put it: ‘We haven’t bottomed out.’
“Trump is now a president in transition, at times angry and increasingly isolated. He fumes in private that just about every time he looks up at a television screen, the cable news headlines are trumpeting yet another scandal. He voices frustration that son-in-law Jared Kushner has few on-air defenders. He revives old grudges. And he confides to friends that he is uncertain whom to trust.”
The article says Hope Hicks, who resigned as communications director last week, was a “de facto Oval Office therapist” and that with her gone, the president is left with people he “views more as paid staff than surrogate family. So concerned are those around Trump that some of the president’s oldest friends have been urging one another to be in touch – the sort of familiar contacts that often lift his spirits.”
Watching all this cable news is taking a toll on the 71-year-old president, the Post wrote. “‘Pure madness,’ lamented one exasperated ally.”
It then invoked McCaffery, who served in the Obama White House and is now a commentator on MSNBC, as saying, “I think the president is starting to wobble in his emotional stability and this is not going to end well.
Wehner, the former Bush speechwriter, pushed a similar theme. “Trump’s fundamentally distorted personality – which at is core is chaotic, volatile and transgressive – when combined with the powers of the presidency had to end poorly,” he said, “What we’re now seeing is the radiating effects of that, and it’s enveloped him, his White House, his family and friends.”
Wehner and McCaffery don’t go near the White House and have few if any reliable connections to Trump or his administration.
Those who do speak to Trump regularly said they disagree. Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax and a member at Mar-a-Lago, said the president is enjoying the job.
“I’m bewildered when I see these reports that he’s in turmoil,” Ruddy said. “Every time I speak to him he seems more relaxed and in control than ever. He seems pretty optimistic about how things are shaping up.”