A big bag of wind threatening disaster and death is barreling down on the east coast. President Donald Trump (who for the sake of argument isn’t the big bag of wind) is pointing at the federal government’s success in Puerto Rico, where 3,000 people died, as an indication of how well prepared we are for Hurricane Florence.
That’s hardly good news for those directly in the hurricane’s path, but there it is.
Nature is proving again this week it can create things far more destructive than even the worst that man can offer and, let’s face it, Trump is among the worst that man can offer.
Imagine working at the White House today. You don’t know if Omarosa Manigault Newman secretly taped you, whether or not Bob Woodward spoke to someone in your office about you and whether or not the man or woman working next to you contributed to the “resistance” inside the White House and/or contributed to an anonymous op-ed column that recently ran in the New York Times. Who among your coworkers has spoken with the Robert Mueller special investigation?
Your boss is under investigation. Some of his friends are under indictment or have been convicted of serious crimes and you have little or no background to prepare you for any of this.
Dark times indeed. The clouds above the White House are literal and metaphorical.
Friday, as the basement-dwelling reporters in the West Wing (now known as the Wet Wing because it used to be a pool and with all the mold there, it also contributes to the idea the administration is treating the press like mushrooms – keeping us wet, in the dark and feeding us excrement) listened to the sound of rain crashing down on the White House while the network reporters hunkered down to do their live shots in the James Brady briefing room, a crash of thunder and a flash of lightning reminded everyone that Donald Trump’s powers go only so far.
By the beginning of the week the storms were still brewing, figuratively and literally. The White House was still trying to figure out who contributed to a New York Times editorial and reporters were clandestinely whispering the “super-secret” password “Lodestar” as they made their way through the White House.
Many staffers routinely walk around the White House these days with a grimace and forced smile on their face. Imagine a character from “3rd Rock from the Sun” and you get the idea.
Salutations have been reduced to “Hi! How are you doing?” A reporter asks.
“It wasn’t me. I didn’t write it,” is the automatic response.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders held her first briefing of the month Monday at the White House and seemed as bored and tired of it all as anyone else who had to cover the briefing.
How long has it been since she briefed the public? The Kavanaugh hearings hadn’t yet occurred. John McCain was still alive. The op-ed piece hadn’t been edited and a soft coup hadn’t occurred at the White House. Bob Woodward hadn’t released “Fear,” and there was no actual hurricane brewing off the coast. That’s how long it has been.
But as “Lodestar” cruised into this week, the president reminded us once again his staff is a “well-oiled machine” and those who contributed to the op-ed piece in the Times are “gutless losers,”according to Sanders.
As Trump left last week, with all of the dysfunction in the White House, I asked who was in charge? He didn’t answer. Sanders didn’t call on me in the briefing Monday, but I repeated the question as she left, asking her if she would speak about “command and control” at the White House.
As the noose tightens and the inquiries increase, this is not an idle question.
The person who wrote the op-ed for The New York Times claims to represent the “adults in the room” – more than one – who are operating to protect us all.
This does not ease our burden. I’m less concerned with who wrote the op-ed than why. With just three ways to legally remove a president, one being vote them out, another being impeach them and the last being invocation of the 25th amendment, this letter writer informs us there are not enough votes for any of the three. So either the letter was written as an attempt to garner more votes for one of those scenarios or it was just a plea to the old-style GOP so whoever wrote the letter might have a job at the Heritage Foundation at the end of the Trump administration – whenever that may be.
But it doesn’t convince me there are adults in the room guarding against the president’s worse tendencies. Stand up and be counted if you’re an adult. I won’t mimic Sanders, but the administration does have a very valid point: you may or may not have voted for Donald Trump, but no one cast a vote for a White House staffer.
If you truly believe the president is at odds with the principles of our country, and is a menace to the Republic for which it stands, then stand up and be counted.
The flashes of lighting and the rolling thunder may be more than the reality of a hurricane creeping up on the White House. There’s still the Mueller investigation and that storm is building to be a Category Five for those who work in and around this administration.