Thursday, January 11, 2018


Christopher Buskirk, editor of the pro-Trump website American Greatness, writes in a Washington Post op-ed that we shouldn't believe that silly old Michael Wolff book because the president, far from being a puppet manipulated by Svengalis such as Steve Bannon, is a political giant who's transforming American politics all on his own:
Accusations that Trump is being manipulated by his advisers — always wrong but nonetheless repeated so often as to take on the appearance of truth — must now cease. And so must the rhetorical conflation of Trump and Bannon. Trump must be seen as his own man and judged by his own words.

... with Bannon clearly out of Trump’s inner circle, there can be no whispers of a power structure outside the White House. Like Ronald Reagan, Trump keeps his own counsel. There is no Valerie Jarrett or Karl Rove. It’s just the president and his agenda.
So there isn't an adviser who can be called "Trump's brain"? I guess that's true -- there isn't an adviser who fills that role.

There are three:

Jonathan Chait explains:
During his morning Executive Time, President Trump took a well-deserved break from his long hours of document study to watch Fox News. The segment featured one of the talking heads urging Trump to oppose the House bill reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The president immediately tweeted out his alarmed confusion that the House was apparently on the verge of approving the very law the sinister Deep State had used to “tapp” his phones:

... The president’s alarm was unfortunate, since the Trump administration strongly supports reauthorization of this law. It has sent its highest-ranking security officials to lobby Congress for reauthorization, and reiterated its endorsement of the law as recently as last night.
So I guess there can be "whispers of a power structure outside the White House" after all -- or not whispers exactly, because anyone can see exactly where that power structure is by turning on the TV in the morning.

And as for Trump "keep[ing] his own counsel," consider what happened next:
Apparently somebody has explained the administration’s position to the president, who has followed up his old tweet opposing the House bill with a new one supporting it:

So first Trump proclaimed his enthusiastic agreement with a guest on his favorite TV show, then he expressed agreement with a staffer who'd gently explained to him that the guest on his favorite TV show was wrong. In each case, he declared himself in agreement with the last person who'd talked to him. Yeah, that's what keeping one's own counsel looks like, isn't it?

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