President Trump is said to be cleaning house, according to Vanity Fair‘s Gabriel Sherman who writes on Friday that “Trump Is Going for a Clean Reset”: Fuming in the West Wing, Trump Prepares to Defenestrate Cuck Allies and Go Full MAGA. According to a “Republican in frequent contact with the White House,” Trump is “tired of being reined in,” and is ready to clean the slate in the West Wing to his liking.
With the departures of Hope Hicks and Gary Cohn, the Trump presidency is entering a new phase—one in which Trump is feeling liberated to act on his impulses. “Trump is in command. He’s been in the job more than a year now. He knows how the levers of power work. He doesn’t give a fuck,” the Republican said. Trump’s decision to circumvent the policy process and impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum reflects his emboldened desire to follow his impulses and defy his advisers. “It was like a fuck-you to Kelly,” a Trump friend said. “Trump is red-hot about Kelly trying to control him.”
The solution, according to “five Republicans close to the White House,” is a total changing of the guard: “Trump is going for a clean reset, but he needs to do it in a way that’s systemic so it doesn’t look like it’s chaos.”
The first to go, according to the sources, will be Chief of Staff John Kelly followed by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster – who Trump has been at odds with for nearly his entire presidency according to reports.
In late February, both CNN and Reuters reported that Kelly and McMaster were reportedly close to quitting or being fired over various issues, including Jared Kushner’s security clearance which was downgraded last week.
“There have been running battles between Trump and his generals,” said one of the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Kelly is a retired Marine general and McMaster an Army lieutenant general.
“But the clearance business is personal, and if Trump sets special rules for family members, I‘m not sure if Kelly and McMaster would salute,” the official said. –Reuters
Then on March 1, NBC reported that HR McMaster is on the verge of being pushed out – with Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis reportedly having orchestrated McMaster’s ouster, even going so far as to select a leading candidate for the job.
That might all be out the window says Gabriel Sherman – as Trump is said to be meeting next weekend at Mar-a-Lago with potential candidates for both McMaster and Kelly’s positions. On Tuesday, Trump met with John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the United Nations.
Trump is expected to interview more candidates for both positions, according to two sources. “He’s going for a clean slate,” one source said. Cohn had been lobbying to replace Kelly as chief, two sources said, and quit when he didn’t get the job. “Trump laughed at Gary when he brought it up,” one outside adviser to the White House said. (The White House declined to comment.) –VF
Bye Jared and Ivanka
Next on the list are reportedly Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. While Trump remains loyal to his family, Kushner has been attracting an increasing amount of negative press, and is reportedly a central focus of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The president’s son-in-law is in a weakened position, which Trump may feel will be a detriment going forward.
One scenario being discussed is that Kushner would return to New York to oversee Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign with his ally Brad Parscale, who was hand-selected by the Trump family. One Trump friend referred to it as a “soft landing.” Ivanka will likely stay on longer, perhaps through the summer, before decamping home to New York to enroll the children in a Manhattan private school. Both are presumed to remain in close contact with Trump, who often places significant value on the opinions expressed outside his administration, anyway. –VF
Sherman’s sources claim the couple will try to hang on as long as possible to avoid the impression that they were driven out by Kelly, while both Ivanka and Jared have been furious at the Chief of Staff.
“Why do you have to embarrass Jared like that?” Ivanka complained to a friend recently. Kushner is doing everything he can to appear engaged despite his lack of a security clearance. “He is looking at everything he can do that doesn’t require a clearance,” a former White House official said. Another source added, “The White House is trying to fluff him up again.”
With the seemingly ongoing game of musical chairs once again in play while Trump removes the chairs, one wonders just who will be staffing the West Wing for the rest of the Trump presidency.