Thursday, March 29, 2018


President Trump is traveling to Ohio today to talk about his dead-in-the-water infrastructure plan; after that he'll head to Florida. But for most of the past week he's been a recluse.
It’s quiet at the White House. Is it ... too quiet?

Trump-watching over the last few days, since about 1 p.m. on Friday, has been a strange experience. There are things happening, and even some big ones; the parade of occasional anonymously sourced West Wing stories continue. There are certain risks to writing this on a Wednesday afternoon, but this might be, as Josh Barro says, the first slow news week of the administration. Reporters, conditioned over the last year and change to a pace of news that rivals Mo Farah, are a little freaked out.
The news cycle has accelerated since that was published -- yesterday we learned about the firing of VA head David Shulkin and his replacement by the White House physician. But why the days-long lull?

Maybe this is the reason:
Hope Hicks plans to depart Washington by Good Friday, over a month after she resigned as the White House communications director on February 28.
Good Friday is tomorrow.

It's said that Hicks has been holding the place together:
Staffers are approaching the post-Hicks era with trepidation, unsure what to expect in what they describe as a lawless White House featuring a president who thrives on chaos and resents authority, process and order. Hicks even used her standing to shield others from the wrath of Mr. Trump's explosive outbursts, sources inside the White House say.

"She's the glue to the entire place," a White House source said. "She helps keep the White House from fracturing. I don't think people realize what's about to happen once she leaves."
But maybe it's more than that. Maybe Trump has just been in an emotional funk. Hicks seems to be one of the few people Trump actually likes.
“She’s the only person he trusts,” [a] source [said]. “He doesn’t trust any men and never has. He doesn’t like men, you see. He has no male friends. I was just with one of them the other day, someone who’s described as one of his closest friends, and he doesn’t know him very well. But a small number of women, including his longtime assistant back in New York, he really listens to them — especially if he’s not banging them. Because, like a lot of men but more so, Trump really does compartmentalize the sex and the emotional part.”
I don't want to ascribe too much human emotion to Trump, who's far too self-involved to feel emotions the way most people do. But it's possible that he feels ... something. I believe he's not sleeping with Hope Hicks. That's why I think he might have feelings toward her that approximate what normal humans experience as love or affection. (I don't think Trump has any feelings toward anyone he's ever slept with. That's why I don't think he's ever actually slept with Ivanka, even though he clearly wants to -- he likes her too much. He wouldn't like her if they'd had sex.)

Trump might just feel that he's being deprived of the pleasure of Hicks's company. That's selfish, but it may be the best he can do. Still, I wonder if what he's experiencing is the rough equivalent of what everyone else feels after a romantic breakup.

What do people do when they're having a bad breakup? They sit around for hours watching TV and eating junk food. But Trump already does that on a normal day. So if this is what's happening, it's probably hard for observers to tell.

Or maybe she was the only one who could persuade him to leave the Residence and start his workday (such as it is). If so, he might mope this way for as long as he's president, now that she's gone.

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