Donald Trump’s circle of friends has been growing smaller and smaller. The reason is that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been talking to them — either willingly or via a subpoena. When POTUS knows that anything he says may spill out the next day as testimony, that puts a kink in what he can discuss.
One of his oldest friends and umbrella company owner of The National Enquirer, CEO David Pecker was one of those people. The special counsel’s team forced him to talk. The president’s former national security adviser and confident Michael Flynn was just in court and is currently awaiting his jail sentence.
Of course, when the man sitting in the Oval Office rants and rages, people tend to keep their distance. Even one of Trump’s best friends in Congress and golfing buddy Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was mad at the president for pulling out of Syria. Graham served in the South Carolina Air National Guard and in the Air Force Reserve as a colonel. That leaves his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Or does it?
Trump did not enjoy Kushner taking the spotlight for his work on the criminal justice bill. The president disagrees with his daughter in the White House and Kushner often, but he does not want to tell them. As a result, he turned to his Chief of Staff John Kelly for that. Of course, Kelly will be leaving. However, the result is that POTUS feels even more isolated from his children.
Ironically, when Kushner disagreed with Trump, he would just have the president’s chief of staff break the bad news. With no Kelly and a Democratic-dominated House, Trump will just get more and more isolated.
Trump curses at his aides and blows up on Twitter at people he thinks slighted him. He wants people to do what he says, not tell him that something is not legal or possible. Otherwise, he becomes very suspicious.
The president looked over the headlines and said, according to The New York Times:
‘Can you believe this? I’m doing great, but it’s a war every day.’
Longtime Republican adviser for top GOP people, such outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan and former speaker John Boehner, Michael Steele said:
‘Nothing he’s going to face in the next two years is going to be like the challenges of the previous two years. Given the staff turnover and the increasing feeling that the president is encircled or cornered by legal and political enemies, it’s entirely possible it gets worse, not better.’
Trump’s former legislative affairs director Marc Short said:
‘It’s absolutely fair to say that it’s better to have Nancy Pelosi as a foil than Paul Ryan as a foil. It’s better for the party and it’s better for unity. The reality is the Democrats could overplay their hand.’
Republican pollster David Winston said:
‘When he’s talking about the economy, he’s gotten a much more positive reaction. Obviously on other topics he hasn’t been able to get it to the point where he’s able to create an overall job approval. The question is, do you address weaknesses or do you play to your strengths?’
Former under-secretary of state to then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson, Steve Goldstein was fired along with his boss. He said:
‘Rex Tillerson and Jim Mattis are two of the finest people ever to serve in government. They were very close and worked hard at trying to do what was best for the country, and sometimes that meant being brutally honest with folks at the White House.’
Former chief of staff to John Bolton for six months and current National Security Adviser, Fred Fleitz, commented:
‘He came in as the ultimate outsider and he brought in some unorthodox policies that worked and he tried some things that didn’t work, and one of the things that didn’t work was bringing in some staffers who didn’t work, like McMaster and Tillerson.’
Even Trump’s family foundation has come under fire. That placed his three eldest children in jeopardy along with him for using it like a piggy bank.
‘It will be a challenge not to be consumed by it. It would only be human when it’s the coverage leading the news every day to be distracted, but it will be important to have the internal discipline not to be.’
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said:
‘Does he create a story that the man never put the presidency first? There has to be a narrative. The individual things may not hit the people who support him, but if there’s an overall narrative, people may understand.’
Unfortunately, when Trump expressed his high regard of some of the most vile dictators in the world, people have been further put off. They worry that a lonely isolated president might make midnight calls to Russian President Vladimir Putin. These cruel men know exactly how to manipulate POTUS — by giving him praise.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel noted:
‘Mueller will decide whether there’s collusion with the Russians on the election. But we can now say there’s collusion with the Russians on foreign policy, and it’s not to America’s benefit.’
‘What I’m trying to figure out is where does it end. The language gets coarser on all sides. The respect for the office of the presidency seems less to me than it was. How do we move people back? Or are we in the new reality?’
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.