Inside the ‘adult day-care center’: How aides try to control and coerce Trump

During the campaign, when President Trump’s advisers wanted him to stop talking about an issue — such as when he attacked a Gold Star military family — they sometimes presented him with polls demonstrating how the controversy was harming his candidacy.

During the transition, when aides needed Trump to decide on a looming issue or appointment, they often limited him to a shortlist of two or three options and urged him to choose one.

And now in the White House, when advisers hope to prevent Trump from making what they think is an unwise decision, they frequently try to delay his final verdicthoping he may reconsider after having time to calm down.

.. The president is often impulsive, mercurial and difficult to manage, leading those around him to find creative ways to channel his energies.

.. Some Trump aides spend a significant part of their time devising ways to rein in and control the impetuous president, angling to avoid outbursts that might work against him, according to interviews with 18 aides, confidants

.. “I restrict no one, by the way, from going in to see him. But when we go in to see him now, rather than onesies and twosies, we go in and help him collectively understand what he needs to understand to make these vital decisions.”

.. Trump’s penchant for Twitter feuds, name-calling and temperamental outbursts presents a unique challenge.

.. One defining feature of managing Trump is frequent praise, which can leave his team in what seems to be a state of perpetual compliments. The White House pushes out news releases overflowing with top officials heaping flattery on Trump

.. One regular practitioner is Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who praised Trump’s controversial statements after white supremacists had a violent rally in Charlottesville and also said he agreed with Trump that professional football players should stand during the national anthem.

.. Former treasury secretary Larry Summers wrote in a Twitter post, “Mnuchin may be the greatest sycophant in Cabinet history.”

.. Especially in the early days of his presidency, aides delivered the president daily packages of news stories filled with positive coverage

.. Some aides and outside advisers hoping to push their allies and friends for top postings, such as ambassadorships, made sure their candidates appeared speaking favorably about Trump in conservative news outlets — and that those news clippings ended up on the president’s desk.

.. H.R. McMaster, the president’s national security adviser, has frequently resorted to diversionary tactics to manage Trump.

.. he will volunteer to have his staff study Trump’s more unorthodox ideas

.. When Trump wanted to make South Korea pay for the entire cost of a shared missile defense system, McMaster and top aides huddled to come up with arguments that the money spent defending South Korea and Japan also benefited the U.S. economy in the form of manufacturing jobs

.. If [Trump] wanted to do something that I thought could be problematic for him, I would simply, respectfully, ask him if we could possibly wait on it and then reconsider,” Nunberg

.. During the campaign, after reading a story in the New York Times that said Trump’s advisers went on television to talk directly to him, the candidate exploded at his then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, chastising his top aide for treating him like “a baby,”

.. The president appreciates how Mattis, a four-star Marine general, speaks to him candidly but respectfully and often plays down disagreements in public.

.. Mattis’s focus has been on informing the president when they disagree — before the disagreements go public — and maintaining a quiet influence.

.. Mattis has also gone out of his way not to suck up to the president

.. Mattis has also worked to get on Trump’s good side by criticizing the media for putting too much emphasis on his disagreements with Trump

.. When he has broken with the president, Mattis has done it as subtly possible.

..  Several people who have met with Trump in recent weeks said he mocks other officials in Washington, especially fellow Republicans.

.. Trump upset Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) by cutting a deal with Democrats. In subsequent days behind closed doors, the president mocked the reactions of McConnell and Ryan from the meeting with an exaggerated crossing of his arms and theatrical frowns.

.. “They have an on-the-record ‘Dear Leader’ culture, and an on-background ‘This-guy-is-a-joke’ culture,”

Real Men Might Get Made Fun Of

“How to build a better white guy” is a conversation that could turn academic fast, replete with all the jargon that the sneering class finds so tedious: intersectionality, emotional labor, systemic oppression, the dreaded “privilege.” But when I sat down with my friends, only one question sprang to mind, and it was personal, not pedantic.

“Do you ever stick up for me?”

.. So, if you care, how often do you say something? Maybe you’ll confront your close friends, but what about more powerful men, famous men, cool men, men who could further your career?

.. One of the subtlest and most pervasive is social ostracism — coding empathy as the fun killer, consideration for others as an embarrassing weakness and dissenting voices as out-of-touch, bleeding-heart dweebs (at best). Coolness is a fierce disciplinarian.

.. People of color not only have to deal with racism; they also have to deal with white people labeling them “angry” or “hostile” or “difficult” for objecting.

.. “SJW” is an acronym for “social justice warrior,” a sarcastic pejorative that purports to refer to online progressive zealots who cross the line from activist to moral scold. In practice, though, the term usually means “anyone asking me to adjust my behavior for reasons I deem annoying or frivolous,”

.. The “dirtbag left,” in contrast to these “warriors,” promises a world in which you can have it both ways: You can be good without ever seeming uncool in front of your buddies, you can be an advocate for social justice without ever considering there might be social forces beyond your ken, you can be a crusader for positive change without ever killing anyone’s buzz, you can be a progressive hero without ever taking identity politics seriously.

.. She testified that she and female colleagues were not invited to a business dinner with Al Gore, the former vice president. “It was said that if there were women there, the conversation would be tempered,” she said, “and it was because women kill the buzz.”

.. I’m frequently contacted by young women weighing the (iffy) benefits and (massive) costs of calling out sexism in their male-dominated industries. I always think: Why is this even our responsibility to fix?

.. One of my podcasting friends told me that he does stick up for women in challenging situations, like testosterone-soaked comedy green rooms, for instance, but complained, “I get mocked for it!”

Yes, I know you do. Welcome. Getting yelled at and made fun of is where many of us live all the time.

Speaking up costs us friends, jobs, credibility and invisible opportunities we’ll never even know enough about to regret.

.. But I need you to absorb that risk. I need you to get yelled at and made fun of, a lot, and if you get kicked out of the club, I need you to be relieved, and I need you to help build a new one.