MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on Monday singled out Stephen Miller, saying President Trump's senior adviser had gone on a "power trip."Scarborough prefaced this by saying that senior members of the foreign policy team insist they won't put up with this sort of thing anymore:
"Why did Stephen Miller fight so hard to put out this order on Friday without talking to any of the other agencies?" Scarborough asked Monday during MSNBC's "Morning Joe," referring to the president's immigration executive order.
"It was Stephen Miller sitting in the White House saying, 'We're not going to go to the other agencies. We're not going to talk to the lawyers. We're going to do this all alone,'" Scarborough continued.
"You've got a very young person in the White House on a power trip thinking that you can just write executive orders and tell all of your Cabinet agencies to go to hell."
Scarborough said Washington is in an "uproar" this morning because Miller decided "he was going to do this without going through the regular agency process."
SCARBOROUGH: I think the biggest takeaway this weekend from all the discussions had to do from that foreign policy team [sic], who said, "Basically, we hope the staff, the young staff members at the White House, enjoyed their time trying to make policy on their own without talking to us, because that will never happen again. The chain" -- the exact quote is "The chain is tightening quickly."There's also grumbling in this New York Times story about the executive order rollout:
White House officials ... insisted to reporters at a briefing that Mr. Trump’s advisers had been in contact with officials at the State and Homeland Security Departments for “many weeks.”And today we see this:
One official added, “Everyone who needed to know was informed.”
But that apparently did not include members of the president’s own cabinet.
Jim Mattis, the new secretary of defense, did not see a final version of the order until Friday morning, only hours before Mr. Trump arrived to sign it at the Pentagon.
Mr. Mattis, according to administration officials familiar with the deliberations, was not consulted by the White House during the preparation of the order and was not given an opportunity to provide input while the order was being drafted. Last summer, Mr. Mattis sharply criticized Mr. Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration as a move that was “causing us great damage right now, and it’s sending shock waves through the international system.”
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has requested some broad categories of Iraqis be exempted from President Trump's 90-day travel ban, a Pentagon official tells the Washington Examiner.Asking for that after the fact had to be humiliating for him.
The categories would include interpreters who risked their lives alongside U.S. troops in Iraq, as well as Iraqi pilots who have been traveling to the United States to learn to fly F-16s.
So top foreign policy staff is upset at Miller (though not, as far we know so far, at Steve Bannon) -- and a separate Times story tells us there's another source of tension in the White House:
People close to Mr. Bannon said he is not accumulating power for power’s sake, but is instead helping to fill a staff leadership vacuum created, in part, by Mr. Flynn’s stumbling performance as national security adviser.I can't figure out who's stabbing Flynn in the back here. We're told it isn't Bannon.
... Mr. Flynn ... has gotten on the nerves of Mr. Trump and other administration officials because of his sometimes overbearing demeanor, and has further diminished his internal standing by presiding over a chaotic and opaque N.S.C. transition process that prioritized the hiring of military officials over civilian experts recommended to him by his own team.
... the episode that did the most damage to the Trump-Flynn relationship occurred in early December when Mr. Flynn’s son, also named Michael, unleashed a series of tweets pushing a discredited conspiracy theory that Clinton associates had run a child sex-slave ring out of a Washington pizza restaurant.
Mr. Trump told his staff to get rid of the younger Mr. Flynn, who had been hired by his father to help during the transition. But Mr. Trump did so reluctantly because of his loyalty during the campaign....
Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Bannon still regard Mr. Flynn as an asset. “In the room and out of the room, Steve Bannon is General Flynn’s biggest defender,” said Kellyanne Conway, another top adviser to the president.Maybe it's Jared Kushner.
But it is unclear when the maneuvers to reduce Mr. Flynn’s role began. Two Obama administration officials said Trump transition officials inquired about expanded national security roles for Mr. Bannon and Mr. Kushner at the earliest stages of the transition in November -- before the younger Mr. Flynn became a liability -- but after Mr. Flynn had begun to chafe on the nerves of his colleagues on the team.This all makes my head spin. We know that intra-agency information-sharing failures were part of the reason the Bush administration didn't see 9/11 coming. Trump's clowns seem as if they're not even going to be willing to share information with whoever's in the office next door.
Well, we can't say we weren't warned. Here's New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman in early December:
As the least experienced, least ideological, and therefore perhaps most malleable president-elect in history prepares to take office, all eyes are on who is influencing his decisions. And so far, Donald Trump’s administration is shaping up to be like his campaign: full of clashing egos and agendas.Also see Politico's Eliana Johnson a week before Inauguration Day:
... “In this administration, titles will not matter,” one transition staffer said. “It’s like Game of Thrones.”
[Chris] Christie is one among dozens of high-level Trump campaign aides and former Republican administration officials who find themselves excluded from the Trump administration -- for now -- but who expect their fortunes to change.Feel safe with these folks in charge?
... many are already talking about a “second wave” of aides and staffers that is likely to replace the volatile or inexperienced loyalists Trump has tapped.
“There’s waves in everything,” said one senior transition aide. “There’s waves in campaigns. There was [Corey] Lewandowski. Then, there was Paul Manafort. Then, there was [David] Bossie, [Stephen] Bannon, and Kellyanne [Conway]. That’s how Trump operates. It’s ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘Survivor’ all mixed into one.”