Considering the long line of staff that have been fired or resigned under Mr. Trump’s presidency, it is no surprise that Trump is caught up in conflict again with yet another close staff person. Just in March, Trump fired his second national security adviser, H.R. McMaster. Now, it seems as though his current conflict is with perhaps, one of the closest staff to him, Vice President Mike Pence.
On Friday, Pence made it known to Mr. Trump that he wanted to appoint Nikki Haley’s deputy John Lerner as his national security adviser. Two sources said they heard the president say:
‘Why would Mike do that?’
The whole thing stunned Trump because he believed that Lerner was very anti-Trump and a card-carrying member of the “Never Trump” movement. Axios reported:
‘…Lerner crafted brutal attack ads for Club for Growth’s multimillion-dollar anti-Trump blitz during the Republican primaries.’
According to Axios:
‘Trump told Kelly to get rid of Lerner. On Friday, as turmoil unfolded, Pence’s team was on the plane to Peru for the Summit of the Americas. Pence’s team got wind of what was happening, and when Pence landed he called the President and talked him around on Lerner, according to administration officials familiar with the situation. Trump was in the Oval when Pence called.’
On Thursday, to the shock of White officials, The Washington Post published Pence’s plans for appointing Jon Lerner:
‘After months of searching, Vice President Pence has chosen a new national security adviser. Jon Lerner, deputy to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, will lead Pence’s foreign policy team and advise him on all national security issues, Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah told me.’
White House counsel Don McGahn and other White House officials were concerned about the appointment especially relating to how Lerner would divide his time between Haley and Pence. Officials questioned Lerner’s qualifications and described him “as a politico and a pollster, with little foreign policy experience.”
However, Pence’s team insisted that Lerner had done a good job working for Haley the past year, and had previous experience advising members of Congress on foreign policy. Pence also assured them that Lerner was well supported by subject matter experts in his office.
According to Axios:
‘The sources said Kelly told colleagues that Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers, who orchestrated the appointment, had not “fully informed” him of Lerner’s anti-Trump history. Ayers and Lerner have worked together in the past for Haley, among other campaigns.’
Ayers, however, said that he did brief Kelly about Lerner’s appointment as well as other senior officials including Nikki Haley, John Bolton, and Mike Pompeo. Axios reported:
‘Pence and his team appear to have averted what would’ve been the VP’s first personnel crisis. In the Pence team’s eyes, it was a “minor confusion” that never should’ve escalated to the President and could’ve been resolved almost instantly had the Pence team not been on a plane when the drama was unfolding.’
There has been speculation that Mr. Trump has plans to to try to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. His desire is strong regardless of the fact that many Republicans and Democrats have tried to dissuade him. Let’s see how long Lerner lasts.
Here’s what Twitter had to say:
Featured image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images