Yesterday was a day unlike any other maybe in the history of our country. Among the developments:
- Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham warned the Republican President Donald J. Trump that “holy hell” would break lose if he tried to fire the attorney general and the special counsel looking into Russia meddling with our election
- The military nicely sidestepped for the moment an “order” from the President to keep transgender men and woman out of the military (and maybe kick out those already serving), something President Obama approved. The military didn’t outright refuse to follow an order (which would be unheard of) but did say nothing changes until they get a direct order, not a Tweet, from the President on the issue.
- The Boy Scouts basically apologized for the President’s campaign rally speech that wasn’t G-rated for a group that included mostly children.
- The chairman of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee said that if Trump fires the attorney general, the Senate will not hold hearings on a replacement this year.
- The White House Communications director, less than a week on the job (and I’m not really sure he’s officially on board yet), went on an expletive-filled rampage with a reporter in which he called the chief of staff “a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” and said the President’s top strategist can do a physical maneuver on himself that even the best Olympic gymnast couldn’t do.
That was yesterday and I’m leaving out a few.
By the way, the Senate did not pass a Republican health care plan which should have been the news of the day/overnight cycle and would have been a big step toward achieving Trump’s agenda, of which he has achieved little so far.
And if you’re a reader of the Washington Post, that newspaper today carried a lead story on the communications director’s tirade that included, spelled out, the expletives he used against the chief of staff! I can’t remember that happening before, and without an explanation. For the record, I agree with them being so specific in this case.
And, Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s new communications director, then Tweeted that he’ll never trust a reporter again — implying that his conversation with Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker magazine was off the record. It was not according to Lizza and Scaramucci came up with that one a bit after the story broke — meaning, I’m guessing, that someone else suggested he spin his bad behavior by saying it was the fake news’ fault. I have a guess who. Trump, with Scaramucci’s appointment is filling out his staff with his buddy New Yorkers as he tries to force out the “establishment” types. By the way, the President can fire any of these people, including the FBI director. He doesn’t need an underling to do it for him.
This is the West Wing of the White House, where the President’s top staffers have their offices. I didn’t assume that these staffers spoke in G-rated language all the time. But past West Wingers and others controlled their impulses in certain situations — like on-the-record discussions with reporters or and even, ahem, in speeches to children.
If you followed all this on the news, you also will note that the targets of these attacks from the West Wing, including the President’s passive-aggressive approach to his own Attorney General, have been met with diplomatic responses from those targeted — AG Jeff Sessions, Sen. Murkowski and Sen. John McCain who was a target again of the President’s when he joined two other Republicans and all the Democrats in the Senate to defeat the “skinny” health care bill voted on overnight.
And for good measure Trump’s Secretary of the Interior threatened Alaska federal treats when he spoke with Alaska’s Senator Murkowski who happens to be chairman of his primary committee in the Senate. Payback indeed will be a bitch, Mr. Secretary. So far, Murkowski is only holding up a few of his appointees.
The President is succeeding in turning key players in his party maybe not formally against him (yet) but putting them on that road. My guess is many of them for months have been as worried about this President as many of us. But they had to bide their time. Biding time is about over. These folks knew it was only a matter of time that a straw would break the camel’s back.
All this when he needs senators and congressmen to pass his badly wounded agenda. His promise to “repeal and replace” Obamacare left in tatters. His effort to “build a wall and have Mexico pay for it” is, at best, on crutches and his claim that he “knows more than the generals” is debunked.
In a normal White House, Scaramucci would be history. He even may yet be in this White House.
New York meets Washington is not going so well.