The joys of working for Donnie from Queens

Trump demands loyalty to Him from others, but heeds no corresponding obligation to others. It’s a very godlike way of viewing the world…which is to say it’s pathologically narcissistic.

After the “Access Hollywood” scandal, Mr. Trump raged at Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, for going on TV to defend him, arguing that he wanted to attack Hillary Clinton, not play defense. Corey Lewandowski, Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign manager until he fired him, repeatedly groused to friends that he was forced to absorb all of the criticism for the campaign’s practice of confining reporters at rallies in small pens. Mr. Trump, he told two people close to him, had ordered him to do it — but placed the blame on Mr. Lewandowski when reporters complained about it.

The firestorm touched off by the Comey firing has only reinforced the lesson Mr. Trump has usually taken away from past crises, that only one person was truly capable of defending him: the man in the mirror. It would be a “good idea” to end the daily news briefing, he told a Fox News host on Friday, suggesting that he was considering hosting his own news conferences every two weeks or so.

Like that awesome unscheduled presser he held a few weeks into his coup, the one where he told April Ryan to set up a meeting with Elijah Cummings and yelled at the Israeli reporter to sit down and be quiet. He’s good at this stuff.

“The most hazardous duty in Washington these days is that of Trump surrogate because the president constantly undercuts the statements of his own people,” said David Axelrod, a communications and messaging adviser to President Barack Obama.

“You wind up looking like a liar or a fool, neither of which is particularly attractive.”

Over the past few days, Mr. Trump deployed his two top aides — his press secretary, Sean Spicer, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a top deputy — to deliver dubious or false information about his decision-making process.

He asked Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to draft a letter documenting Mr. Comey’s shortcomings to leave the impression that it was Mr. Rosenstein’s judgment and not his own that led to the dismissal — an idea that was reinforced by Vice President Mike Pence, who was part of the small group of advisers who planned Mr. Comey’s ouster in near secrecy.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump himself vaporized every version of the Comey story his defenders, including Mr. Pence, had labored so earnestly to put forward. “I was going to fire Comey — my decision. There is no good time to do it, by the way,” Trump told the “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt. “I was going to fire regardless of the recommendation” made by Mr. Rosenstein, he said.

I found that “my decision,” and the way he said it, telling – it appeared to me that it was just typical Trump grandiosity and jealousy – they didn’t decide, I decided, because I’m The Man.

Few of Mr. Trump’s eruptions have had such a destructive effect on his administration or left such deep resentments among his scarred staff, according to Trump aides and surrogates.

They were expecting something different?

For his part, the president’s mood, according to people close to him, alternates between grim frustration with Washington and his news coverage, and a belief that his own political capital is regenerative. Mr. Trump saw that running against strong headwinds in the campaign worked for him, and he has frequently reverted to that playbook.

Uh-huh. It’s going to turn around for him any day now. Any. day.

Mr. Trump was not in a mea culpa mood. He was still raging over what he viewed as Mr. Comey’s “witch hunt” against him — and blaming the bipartisan condemnation of his action on the failures of his embattled and overworked communications team.

Mr. Trump is growing increasingly dissatisfied with the performance of his chief of staff, Reince Priebus; the communications director, Michael Dubke; and Mr. Spicer, a Priebus ally, according to a half-dozen West Wing officials who said the president was considering the most far-reaching shake-up of his already tumultuous term.

There probably aren’t a lot of professionals lining up for those jobs at this point, but no worries, there are thousands of eager Twitter trolls who would jump at the chance.

Mr. Trump’s four-decade career in real estate, casinos and entertainment has given him a sense, associates say, that a tacit agreement exists between him and the people who work for him: In exchange for the wealth, fame and power he conveys to them, they agree to absorb incoming fire directed at him.

Like a mob boss. Not much like a political leader, but very much like a mob boss.

6 Responses to “The joys of working for Donnie from Queens”