Trumpertantrums Tell When The Media Hits The Mark

The New York Times really hit the mark and got under President Trump’s skin Sunday.

My, my, my. Someone is having a Trumpertantrum because the newspaper wrote that Trump is a lonely old man watching television in his bathrobe, and making up fake histories of the White House draperies. But that’s not what really stirred him up.

Mr. Priebus bristles at the perception that he occupies a diminished perch in the West Wing pecking order compared with previous chiefs. But for the moment, Mr. Bannon remains the president’s dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump’s anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council, a greater source of frustration to the president than the fallout from the travel ban.

What? The president signed something without reading and understanding it? He was played by his own top advisor? That’s what’s got Trump by the short hairs. And it’s totally believable. Trump is a big believer in imagery, pageantry, and projection of strength. Any crack in the wall (pardon the pun) is taken very seriously.

For the record, I don’t believe Trump was played by Bannon. I believe anyone who thinks they can pull a fast one on him will find themselves joining Mr. Christie, who said this to the NYT, making himself (if possible) more unlikeable and off the White House Christmas list than before he said it.

“The president deserves better than the rollout he got on the immigration executive order,” Mr. Christie said. “The fact is that he’s put forward a policy that, in my opinion, is significantly more effective than what he had proposed during the campaign, yet because of the botched implementation, they allowed his opponents to attack him by calling it a Muslim ban.”

If Bannon tried to play games in the White House, he’d be fired, full stop. So would Priebus. But I think they do their best to keep Trump from going way off the rails. Part of that is the intense need for cohesion (read: secrecy) in the White House. I’m surprised they don’t use notes rolled into the hollow barrels of emptied out cigarettes to pass notes.

This lack of coordination with anyone outside the West Wing won’t cut it, and it’s a good thing that Trump’s staff is learning to be more professional and careful in its procedures.

What won’t change is the 70-year-old man in charge of the place, giving tours, obsessed with his own press coverage, and using a black Sharpie to circle press clips. Oh, and 4 a.m. tweets aimed at major newspapers who hit too close to the mark.

About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

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