Every single day brings new stories out of the White House about how unfit for president Donald Trump really is. But this one leaked by White House staff is making headlines nationwide.
As reported by The Huffington Post:
“President Donald Trump was confused about the dollar: Was it a strong one that’s good for the economy? Or a weak one?
So he made a call ― except not to any of the business leaders Trump brought into his administration or even to an old friend from his days in real estate. Instead, he called his national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, according to two sources familiar with Flynn’s accounts of the incident.
Flynn has a long record in counterintelligence but not in macroeconomics. And he told Trump he didn’t know, that it wasn’t his area of expertise, that, perhaps, Trump should ask an economist instead.
Trump was not thrilled with that response ― but that may have been a function of the time of day. Trump had placed the call at 3 a.m., according to one of Flynn’s retellings ― although neither the White House nor Flynn’s office responded to requests for confirmation about that detail.”
These anecdotes about Trump’s personal interactions and the inner workings of his administration have come to HuffPost from individuals in executive agencies and in the White House itself. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs.
There’s no way of knowing for sure which of these stories are true and which are just malicious gossip. What’s more interesting is the topic of the rest of the story:
Trump’s volatile behavior has created an environment ripe for leaks from his executive agencies and even within his White House. And while leaks typically involve staffers sabotaging each other to improve their own standing or trying to scuttle policy ideas they find genuinely problematic, Trump’s 2-week-old administration has a third category: leaks from White House and agency officials alarmed by the president’s conduct.
“I genuinely do not think this is a mentally healthy president.”
“I’ve been in this town for 26 years. I have never seen anything like this,” a senior State Department official was quoted saying. “I genuinely do not think this is a mentally healthy president.”
This is truly bizarre and unique. Every new White House has lots of growing pains and plenty of leaks. But they never feature leak after leak after leak portraying the president as a “mentally unbalanced”. That’s truly disturbing.
The idea that Trump is temperamentally ill-suited for the presidency is nothing new. It was the main argument against him during both the GOP primaries a year ago and the general election last summer and fall. At times, Trump seemed to embrace the characterization, wearing it as a badge of honor for his status as an anti-establishment “outsider.”
But what were only hypothetical concerns on the campaign trail are now life-and-death decisions inside the White House – as evidenced by the death of a Navy commando in a botched raid in Yemen on Jan. 29. Trump approved that raid following a dinner meeting that included his top political adviser, former Breitbart News Chairman Stephen Bannon, whose permanent membership in the National Security Council was itself the basis of widespread leaks and warnings from the national security establishment.
“The intelligence community is desperately looking for a way to get some leverage in altering dangerous policies away from a catastrophic vector,” said Rick Wilson, a former Pentagon official familiar with intelligence issues who has become a vocal Trump critic.
At this point, I’m mostly curious about who’s doing the leaking. Is it career staff from the Obama era who are still working in the White House until they get reassigned? Or is this coming from folks who were actually hired by Trump? If it’s the former, it’s still unprecedented.
If Trump’s own people think he’s an idiot and are happy to let the whole world know it, something is very, very wrong.
But I don’t know which it is. What do you think?