On Tuesday morning, Donald Trump tried to change the narrative. As always, he did so with a tweet. This tweet:
“The new Fake News narrative is that there is CHAOS in the White House. Wrong! People will always come & go, and I want strong dialogue before making a final decision. I still have some people that I want to change (always seeking perfection). There is no Chaos, only great Energy!”
That assertion – No chaos, No chaos, You’re the chaos – directly contradicts what Trump himself said on Saturday night. “I like turnover,” he said in a speech to the Gridiron Club in Washington. “I like chaos. It really is good.”
It also directly contradicts a little thing I like to call the facts. Here’s a far-from-complete list of the events in and around the Trump White House over the past few weeks:
- Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide, refuses a subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller and then goes on cable TV – all of it – to proudly tout that fact. Nunberg also makes mention that Mueller may well have something on Trump.
- Communications director Hope Hicks abruptly resigns – just a day after acknowledging to a congressional panel that she sometimes told white lies in support of Trump.
- Trump attacks Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not more aggressively pursuing alleged misuse of the FISA process – hitting him as “DISGRACEFUL” in a tweet.
- Trump senior adviser – and son-in-law – Jared Kushner loses his top secret security clearance amid his lingering inability to obtain a permanent security clearance.
- The stripping of Kushner’s security clearance further ramps up tensions between Kushner (and wife Ivanka Trump) and White House chief of staff John Kelly.
- Josh Raffel, a longtime confidante of Javanka, announces he is leaving the White House.
- Mueller’s investigation reportedly moves into Trump’s finances before he began running for president.
- The White House splits with Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a member of first lady Melania Trump’s staff. That departure came after it was revealed that Wolkoff’s event planning business was paid mire than $26 million for its work during Trump’s inauguration.
- White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says the administration is reviewing the inspector general’s report on Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin’s misuse of taxpayer dollars in a trip to Europe in 2017.
- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson cancels an order for a $31,000 dining room set for his office after the expenditure receives lots and lots of negative press attention.
In fact, Trump directly contradicted himself on the alleged lack of chaos in his administration in the very tweet in which he asserts everything is going totally according to plan.”I still have some people that I want to change (always seeking perfection),” he wrote.
What better way to quiet talk of chaos within your administration than to make clear you still have some people you want to get rid of? That should calm peoples’ nerves and keep the media from asking questions about who is going to resign next! It’s fool-proof!
Here’s the thing: Donald Trump loves chaos. He believes that in chaos or, more accurately, out of chaos comes progress and success. Throughout his life – including his time in the White House – Trump has pitted top advisers against one another, picked fights with his own advisers and, generally speaking, worked to stir things up whenever he got the chance.
This is who he is and what he does. Always has been. Always will be.
And, any even mildly-neutral examination of Trump’s White House over the past few weeks would conclude that it had descended into something approaching total chaos – sidetracked by departures and distractions.
That Trump is trying to dispute those facts isn’t surprising. But facts are pesky things. And you don’t change them with a tweet. Or even 100 tweets.