Truth is not in the White House DNA

Oh gee, poor White House, they’re all in a mess again because of Porter and Wray and why won’t it just stop? All they want is to be left in peace to take away Medicare and Medicaid and subsidies for health insurance and the EPA and food stamps and a few other tiny things.

The White House struggled Tuesday to contain a widening crisis over its handling of domestic violence allegations against a senior official, as it reeled from sworn testimony by the FBI chief that directly contradicted what President Trump’s aides had presented as the official version of events.

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the bureau had completed a background report on then-staff secretary Rob Porter last July and closed out the case entirely last month. Wray’s account is at odds with White House claims that the investigation required for Porter’s security clearance was “ongoing” until he left his job last week, after his two ex-wives publicly alleged physical and emotional abuse.

So they lied, so what? Won’t somebody please think of the billionaires?

The latest bout of turbulence is exacerbated by the administration’s reputation, earned over 13 chaotic months, for flouting institutional norms and misrepresenting facts to the public — a culture set by the president himself.

The public relations fallout is further compounded by Trump’s own history of alleged sexual assault and his seeming reluctance to publicly condemn violence against women and give voice to the national #MeToo reckoning.

But other than that, why does anybody care?

Trump is playing it cool when we can see him but behind the scenes he’s asking everybody what the media are saying and how this is all working out for him.

People are super annoyed at Kelly.

Kelly is “a big fat liar,” said one White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share a candid opinion.

Hahahahahahaha “I’ll tell you what I think of Kelly if you promise to keep my name out of it, ok? Cool. He’s A BIG FAT LIAR. Don’t say it was me.”

Kelly’s attempts at explaining his role, according to some aides, have included telling senior staff members last Friday to communicate a version of events many believed to be false, as well as telling at least one confidant that he has “a good bullshit detector” and had long detected troubling characteristics in Porter.

If he had a good bullshit detector he wouldn’t be working for Mister Bullshit himself.

“Credibility is the coin of the realm for any White House chief of staff, and it’s especially important in a White House where truth was the first casualty and credibility has been the second,” said Chris Whipple, who wrote a book about chiefs of staff.

The internal animus is not limited to Kelly. White House counsel Donald McGahn and deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin are also facing scrutiny over how Porter managed to work at the White House — and hold an interim security clearance — for more than a year despite the allegations of abuse during his two marriages.

It’s my impression that the security clearance is actually supposed to mean something, and that people who can’t get one aren’t supposed to have the job where you hand the president all the secret briefings.

During Wray’s testimony, another White House aide texted a Washington Post reporter, describing the moment as “a killer.”

When asked if Kelly could have been more transparent or truthful, that official wrote: “In this White House, it’s simply not in our DNA. Truthful and transparent is great, but we don’t even have a coherent strategy to obfuscate.”

Ahem. Let’s repeat that.

When asked if Kelly could have been more transparent or truthful, that official wrote: “In this White House, it’s simply not in our DNA. Truthful and transparent is great, but we don’t even have a coherent strategy to obfuscate.”

That’s quite an admission.

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