Speculation that President Donald Trump will shake up his White House staff has reached a fever pitch in the wake of a week that saw the White House repeatedly described as an administration in chaos.
Throughout the week, media accounts portrayed White House press secretary Sean Spicer as a man on thin ice.
Spicer was serving his Naval Reserve duty at the Pentagon for much of the week and was replaced by Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the podium for daily press briefings. Spicer was characterized in a Washington Post story as hiding behind bushes and snappish with reporters Tuesday night as the White House coped with the media firestorm created by President Donald Trump’s surprise firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
Now, Spicer’s name is being included with several other White House officials as having fallen under a cloud.
The New York Times portrayed Trump as dissatisfied with Reince Priebus, his chief of staff, and Michael Dubke, his communications director.
Priebus was widely reported to be on the chopping block last month when the media was filled with reports of internal tensions involved strategist Steven Bannon and adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law.
Politico reported Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle is being considered as a possible replacement for Spicer. Guilfoyle was among those Trump originally considered for the post that ultimately went to Spicer.
The Associated Press reported the Fox connections might run even deeper, saying Trump was thinking of expanding his communications team and hiring some Fox News producers.
Some accounts have said the issue is not with the advisers, but the president’s style.
“Trump is putting a lot on the backs of his spokespeople, while simultaneously cutting their legs out from underneath them,” said Alex Conant, a former adviser to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
“There is nothing more discouraging or embarrassing for a spokesman than to have your boss contradict you. In political communications, you’re only as good as your credibility,” he said.
Others framed it in a different light.
“The challenge they have is that the president sometimes moves so rapidly that they don’t get a team around that gets it organized,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. “He’s a little bit like a quarterback that gets ahead of his offensive line.”
That tactic “minimizes the ability of the presidency to both protect him from mistakes and to maximize his strengths,” said Gingrich.
“At some point, I hope he’s going to learn that taking one extra day, having the entire team lined up … I don’t think he always helps himself. I think 10 percent less Trump would be 100-percent more effective,” he said.
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