President-elect Donald Trump, center, accompanied by Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, right, and Retired Gen. Michael Flynn, a senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, left, speaks to members of the media at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The Coming Trump Shakeup Should Start With Mike Flynn, Not Reince Preibus

Donald Trump is headed towards an administrative shakeup and it looks like he is headed in the wrong direction. The growing conventional wisdom is that he is going to toss out Sean Spicer and/or Reince Preibus in favor of the folks who are causing the most problems.

Conservatives have long been suspicious of Reince Preibus given his establishment pedigree, but his position as White House Chief of Staff makes him the first person to ever inhabit that office who is an evangelical, Bible believing Christian. That should, on world view alone, slow down the “toss Reince” movement. People have blamed him for a lot of things outside his control and blamed him for GOP issues that were not within his control all because he was chairman of the RNC. And now he is getting blamed for other people’s bad behavior.

On Spicer, I think the White House would be smart to move him into the Director of Communications role and out of the press room. Communications is where he excels. Day to day press dealings is not his speciality. He would be better directing the message instead of giving it.

The real shakeup, though, probably is not going to happen. It was neither Spicer nor Preibus who rushed out the immigration executive order without talking to people. That was Bannon and Miller. It was not Spicer or Preibus who vetoed a provision allowing green card holders back into the country. That was Bannon and Miller.

Likewise, it was not Spicer or Preibus who sent out Vice President Pence to give false information regarding Mike Flynn’s call with the Russians. That was Flynn himself.

Just compare and contrast the roll out of the immigration executive order and Neil Gorsuch. One was amateur hour, the other was professionally done.

Trump, perhaps, does not need to toss people out on the street. He should, however, streamline the office and let Preibus actually run it. Trump has long positioned himself as a man who lets all comers have access to him. As President, that becomes problematic because everyone wants access. Access is power. But too many are letting power go to their heads.

The President would be smart to let Preibus manage the office and access. Give Kellyanne Conway plenary power to go to the President whenever she wants. She has the pulse of conservatives and can alleviate any and all concerns any might have about Preibus shutting out conservatives. She is absolutely and thoroughly competent.

Bannon is going to Bannon and Preibus cannot stop him. So that will be another area of engagement for the President with non-establishmentarian voices.

Jared Kushner will make sure liberal policies are not ignored, but will also make sure his father-in-law is up to speed where it counts.

Before the President shakes up the management of his office, he ought to at least allow his Chief of Staff to manage it. He should also allow his Chief of Staff to deal with Mike Flynn. As we are seeing, despite Flynn’s claims to the contrary, he was fired as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency for his disruptive and chaotic management style, not because he spoke truth to power. Flynn lying to Vice President Pence must be dealt with ruthlessly and forcefully.

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Erick Erickson

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