The morning after Donald Trump’s chief economic advisor, Gary Cohn, resigned, the White House PR machine went to work pretending that there is nothing the least bit wrong in Trumpland. Never mind that there has been a higher rate of turnover than any presidency in history, or that competent, qualified people are rejecting offers to work in Trump’s administration. Even current staff are delaying departure because they can’t find new employers who will hire them. That’s how toxic the association with Trump is.
The Wednesday press briefing at the White House was a typically shallow affair where press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders spent much of the time replying to questions with non-answers. For instance, she would repeatedly say something like “the President has made his feelings clear on that matter and I have nothing further to add.” So what the heck are you doing there?
Today’s briefing included a couple of questions (videos below) related to White House staffing problems which, according to Sanders, don’t exist. She is parroting Trump’s obviously false contention that he has his choice of “the 10 top people” for any open position because “everybody wants to be there.” That is contradicted by the very fact that he keeps having so many openings. Clearly people don’t want to be there. And this deficit of talent has even Trump supporters worried:
Q: Republican senator Cornyn said today “I’m concerned who the President will turn to for advice.” Should he be concerned?
A: No. The President’s got a number of very accomplished, smart, capable people around him. And he is going to continue to lean on a lot of those people. But at the end of the day the American people voted overwhelmingly for President Donald J. Trump. They voted for his policies, his agenda, and for him to be the ultimate decision maker.
Sanders is right. There is indeed a number of “very accomplished, smart, capable people” around the President. Zero is a number, isn’t it? However, Sanders is totally wrong about Trump being elected overwhelmingly. In fact, Hillary Clinton got three million more votes than Trump. And his policies and agenda have only gotten less popular in the past year. He still has the lowest approval rating of any president on record. And his popularity doesn’t seem to be any higher within his administration than it does with voters.
Q:Why are so many people people leaving this administration?
A: Look, this administration has had a historic first year. We’re gonna continue to do great things. This is an intense place, as is every White House, and it’s not abnormal that you would have people come and go.
Q: But it is actually abnormal. No administration in recent history has had this rate of turnover.
A: But it’s not abnormal to have turnover.
Q: If this is not the definition of chaotic, how would you describe what’s happening in these recent weeks?
A: If it was then I don’t think we’d have been able to accomplish everything that we’ve done. The economy is stronger than it’s been in ages. ISIS is on the run. The remaking of the judiciary. Jobs are coming in at record numbers. There are historic things that have taken place in the first year. Sounds like a very functioning place of business.
So Sanders is reduced to asserting that losing staff is not abnormal, even though the turnover rate in Trump’s White House is historically high. That’s like your doctor saying that losing blood isn’t abnormal while you’ve got an open vein gushing like a fire hose. Everything will be just fine. And her rundown of Trump’s achievements is really a list of the successes that President Obama handed down to Trump. But nothing that has transpired in the past year reflects a functioning workplace. Sanders – and Trump – have an impressive capacity for self-delusion.
The people populating Trump’s administration have never been especially well regarded. Those still remaining include Ben Carson, Rick Perry, Scott Pruitt, and Betsy DeVos. That makes the prospect of Trump selecting new staffers extremely troubling. One name already being floated for Cohn’s job is Larry Kudlow, currently a Fox Business Network contributor. Also being mentioned as a replacement for National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, is another Fox News pundit, John Bolton. It seems that Trump’s only recruiting pool is from those people he sees on TV. And if that’s true, get ready for Secretary of State Sean Hannity, and Attorney General Jeanine Pirro. These are indeed scary times.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
JUST IN: @PressSec responds to lawmakers who express unease over Trump's lack of advisers amid Cohn's departure.
"At the end of the day the American people voted overwhelmingly for President Donald J. Trump … for him to be the ultimate decision maker." pic.twitter.com/ZcPkiJpLNR
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 7, 2018
.@PressSec on Trump White House departures:
"This is an intense place, as is every White House, and it's not abnormal that you would have people come and go." pic.twitter.com/kq2RxcVl4f
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 7, 2018