Reports suggest factions of White House staffers are at odds
But that's the way Trump designed things
There’s a new article in The Daily Beast that suggests White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has been calling senior adviser Jared Kushner some unflattering names behind his back.
Here’s the key passage:
One official said Bannon has lately complained about Kushner trying to “shiv him and push him out the door” and likened him to a fifth column in the White House.
“[Steve] recently vented to us about Jared being a ‘globalist’ and a ‘cuck’…He actually said ‘cuck,’ as in ’cuckservative,’” the administration official told The Daily Beast.
Cuckservative is a portmanteau of conservative and cuckold. It was born out of the alt-right movement and meant to suggest a lack of moral conviction among establishment Republicans.
On one level, it’s a pretty incredible report. One top Trump adviser is blasting another as a fake conservative less than 100 days into the President’s term. And the Trump adviser on the receiving end of the name-calling also happens to be married to Trump’s daugher, Ivanka.
It’s the stuff great soap operas are made of. “On the next episode of ‘White House’ Jared confronts Steve!!!!!”
On the other hand, President Trump built a senior staff structure that virtually guaranteed this short of infighting. He deputized four people – Bannon, Kushner, chief of staff Reince Priebus and counselor Kellyanne Conway – but did nothing to demarcate where one’s duty ended and another’s began.
Not only that: Bannon, who ran the conservative Breitbart News website before signing on with Trump’s campaign, is as anti-establishment as they come. Priebus is the face of the establishment, having served several terms as the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Conway’s roots are in the social conservative wing of the Republican party; Kushner is socially liberal and has a documented history of donating to Democratic candidates.
Trump knows – and knew – all of this. And he did it anyway. Why? Because he believes tension and rivalry yield results. Go back to “The Apprentice,” the reality TV show Trump and Mark Burnett dreamed up. The final scene each week is Trump, flanked by two deputies, overseeing a free-for-all power struggle between the show’s contestants. That’s Trump’s idea of how a workplace functions best.
That fact is what makes Trump different from the average politician – and the average person. He doesn’t avoid conflict. He embraces it. He set up a White House senior staff designed to create it. And so, while you might see chaos, Trump sees his system working.
What remains to be seen is whether Trump’s approach can work in the world of politics. While all White Houses have feuding elements, few are as open about it as this one. And few of these major conflicts develop so early in a president’s term.
Trump promised an unorthodox approach to politics, something no one has ever seen before. He appears to be delivering.