For 13 months in the Oval Office, and in an unorthodox business career before that, Donald J. Trump has thrived on chaos, using it as an organizing principle and even a management tool.
Now the costs of that chaos are becoming starkly clear in the demoralized staff and policy disarray of a wayward White House.
.. Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary D. Cohn, warned the chief of staff, John F. Kelly, that he might resign if the president went ahead with the plan,
- .. departure of his closest aide, Hope Hicks, and the effective
- demotion of his senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushne
.. Mr. Trump was forced to deny, through an aide, that he was about to fire his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster.
.. Yet at the end of a photo session, when a reporter asked Mr. Trump about the measures, he confirmed that the United States would announce next week that it is imposing long-term tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. The White House has not even completed a legal review of the measures.
.. Mr. Cohn, who almost left last year after Mr. Trump’s response to a white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Va., indicated he was waiting to see whether Mr. Trump goes through with the tariffs
.. second day in a row that Mr. Trump blindsided Republicans and his own aides.
.. he embraced the stricter gun control measures backed by Democrats
.. Mr. Trump relied on a small circle of colleagues and a management style that amounted to “trial and error — the strongest survived, the weak died.”
.. erratic boss and little in the way of a coherent legislative agenda
.. they are consumed by infighting, fears of their legal exposure and an ambient sense that the White House is spinning out of control... he carries on a bitter feud with his attorney general and watches members of his family clash with a chief of staff he recruited to restore a semblance of order — all against the darkening shadow of an investigation of his ties to Russia...Mr. Trump’s instinct during these moments is to return to the populist themes that carried him to the White House, which is why his trade announcement is hardly surprising... Mr. Trump has few fixed views on any issue, but he has been consistent on his antipathy for free trade since the 1980s.. Without Mr. Porter playing a stopgap role on trade, the debate has been marked by a lack of focus on policy and planning.. Mr. Trump lashes out regularly at Attorney General Jeff Sessions with a vitriol that stuns members of his staff... Mr. Trump regards Mr. Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation as the “original sin,” which the president thinks has left him exposed... Anthony Scaramucci, an ally of some in the Trump family, whom Mr. Kelly fired as communications director after only 11 days, intensified his criticism of the chief of staff in a series of news interviews on Wednesday and Thursday.
.. Mr. Trump is also frustrated with Mr. Kushner, whom he now views as a liability because of his legal entanglements, the investigations of the Kushner family’s real estate company and the publicity over having his security clearance downgraded
.. some aides have expressed frustration that Mr. Kushner and his wife, the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, have remained at the White House, despite Mr. Trump at times saying they never should have come to the White House and should leave.
.. aides also noted that Mr. Trump has told the couple that they should keep serving in their roles, even as he has privately asked Mr. Kelly for his help in moving them out.
.. Some argue Mr. Kelly should have carried out a larger staff shake-up when he came in. That has allowed several people to stagnate, particularly in policy roles, one adviser said.