Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the White House today as tensions rose to new heights, judging by the “profanity-laced” shouting match that took place outside the Oval Office, according to Bloomberg News.
The two men screaming at each other were White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Advisor John Bolton, who were observed by at least three people who relayed the story to Bloomberg. A later report by CNN indicated that the angry yelling was over a recent surge in border crossings by illegal immigrants and how to deal with it.
Bolton, supported by President Trump, wants to respond to the increase with harsh, draconian measures, such as the complete shutdown of the Southern border that Trump proposed on Twitter this morning.
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….In addition to stopping all payments to these countries, which seem to have almost no control over their population, I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught – and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2018
Bolton criticized Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen as not doing her job during the argument, an attack on a protege that Kelly would not stand for. The public nature of the explosive exchange indicates that pressure in the White House is building to unprecedented levels with the midterm elections that can determine the future of the administration looming over them.
CNN reported that the caravan of migrants from Central America that Trump has been using to drum up fear ahead of the midterm elections has been a central focus of the administration this week.
“The caravan issue has been the subject of several White House meetings in recent days, according to an administration official. The conversations have centered around not only how to stop the caravan, but also how to use the issue for the upcoming midterms, the official said. Stephen Miller has been heavily involved,” CNN said.
According to Bloomberg:
“The shouting match was so intense that other White House aides worried one of the two men might immediately resign. Neither is resigning, the people said.”
“It’s not clear if Trump heard the argument. But the people said he is aware of it.”
Given Trump’s penchant for management by chaos, the bitter fight fits exactly into his leadership style. With a president who manages his staff as if it were an episode of The Apprentice that needed a little extra conflict to gain better ratings, the dysfunction in the Oval Office is business as usual. Hopefully, the midterm elections will provide a wake-up call to the administration that acts as if its win with a minority of the popular vote somehow constitutes a mandate.
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