The White House is already feeling the tremors before the big one: President Trump is planning a huge shakeup and the wheels are already in motion.
Sources told Vanity Fair that Trump is planning to interview replacements for all the top spots starting with replacements for Chief of Staff John Kelly on his next trip to Mar-a-Lago. Now that Hope Hicks and Gary Cohn are out, the old guard of the administration is in tatters and the gloves are off.
That’s why, sources said, Trump seems to have taken matters into his own hands in the last couple of days. The steel and aluminum tariffs were announced without any consultation with aides or advisors and without any advance notice. Trump’s planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also came as something of a surprise.
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One Republican source explained the psychology behind it.
“Trump is in command. He’s been in the job more than a year now. He knows how the levers of power work. He doesn’t give a fuck,” he said.
Five Republicans with knowledge of the situation said Trump is going for a clean reset of his White House staff following the most recent high-level departures, but that he wants to at least make it appear systematic and not completely chaotic.
Current Chief of Staff John Kelly seems to be first on the chopping block, with National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster right behind him. His son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump are on the outs, having been almost completely neutralized by Kelly’s revoking of their security clearances.
Jared has been trying his best to look like he’s working since Kelly took away his clearance, which presumably means shuffling stacks of papers with nothing on them in an attempt to trick his boss into thinking he’s “doing business things.” Ivanka’s just pissed Kelly made her husband look like the impotent loser he most likely, definitely is.
Jared would likely beat a hasty retreat to New York to run Trump’s 2020 campaign with Ivanka following shortly thereafter.
The whole strategy seems to be a new spin on the old “let Trump be Trump,” only this time that directive is being uttered by Trump to Trump as a pep talk in the bathroom mirror every morning at 11:15 before he heads into “executive time.”
It’s about to get messy in this White House. Tune in.