Comey who? Buoyant Trump kicks off week in Florida

Trump jokes about another firing
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West Palm Beach, Florida (CNN)His character and looks were freshly insulted to millions of viewers on national television. His personal attorney was appearing in federal court with the porn actress who that lawyer paid off looking on. And the questionable ethics of his environment chief, temporarily obscured by unrelated scandal, were reemerging.

Despite all that, President Donald Trump offered little indication his spirits were dampened as he began a week-long stay in South Florida on Monday. Escaping an unseasonably cold and wet Washington for sunnier climes, Trump waxed nostalgic during a tax event about his electoral victory 16 months ago and accepted the praise of a handpicked and friendly crowd.
"You remember that great evening," Trump recalled of Election Day 2016, "that beautiful, beautiful day." He went on to intone like a network anchor: "Donald Trump has won the state of Florida."
It was a memory of easier times. Back then, a special counsel's investigation wasn't winding its way into Trump's inner circle. Stormy Daniels appeared willing to abide by her nondisclosure agreement. James Comey had yet to introduce himself.
    Now, Trump faces an ever-massing ball of controversy, set aflame on Sunday with the former FBI director's first interview as he launches a media blitz to promote his book. In the sit-down with ABC, Comey declared Trump morally unfit for the presidency, said he didn't reflect Americans' values and described his face as orange and his hairstyle as time-consuming.
    Trump, who confidants say was expecting the moral finger-wagging but not the personal insults, was unusually taciturn about the interview on Monday. He dispatched only one tweet accusing Comey of making decisions for political purposes. He avoided reporters' questions as he walked across a wet South Lawn to his Marine One helicopter.
    Aboard Air Force One, his press secretary Sarah Sanders indicated Trump had viewed "bits and pieces" of the Comey interview -- "he didn't watch the entire thing" -- and found little that surprised him.
    "We didn't learn anything new," she said. "Comey is a self-admitted leaker. Been proven to be dishonest. And I think that his credibility is really at hand."
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    Privately, some aides have expressed concern that Comey's upcoming television marathon could distract and infuriate a President already deeply resentful of the Russia investigation. Developments involving his personal attorney Michael Cohen repeatedly intruded into deliberations over putative strikes on Syria last week.
    Remaining at his Florida estate for the entire week, Trump's views on the matter are likely to be reinforced by the cadre of outside advisers and friends who populate his private Mar-a-Lago club, though the winter crowds have thinned as the Palm Beach season winds down.
    On Tuesday and Wednesday, as Comey continues his appearances on morning television, Trump will be hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is himself escaping a corruption scandal back home.
    Any discussion of Comey was absent Monday from a midday roundtable on taxes in the Cuban-majority city Hialeah, just outside Miami.
    "Are there any Hispanics in the room?" Trump said as he began, to laughs and applause. "I doubt it."
    He described his nearby Doral Golf Club as "surrounded by Venezuelans," which he called "great, great people," and insisted his administration was "working very hard on the Venezuelan horror show."
    He offered praise to some of his Cabinet officials, even as he acknowledged some others were disappointments.
    "Not all of my choices were good, but they were great ones," Trump said of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta.
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    He didn't specify which choices had fallen short, but there are a variety of options. Trump has sustained a prolonged dispute with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who he's excoriated for recusing himself from Russia-related matters. He's dismissed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price for either undermining him or embarrassing him.
    And he and his aides are currently assessing whether Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt crossed too many ethical lines to keep his job. On Monday, a government watchdog announced the purchase of a $43,000 soundproof booth for Pruitt's office violated federal law.
    Trump has largely written off Pruitt's troubles, declaring him an effective steward of his deregulatory agenda. But the President is known to change his mind rapidly, particularly when it comes to underlines who disappoint him.
    There was ample evidence of that in Florida on Monday. Traveling with the President were Larry Kudlow, the President's new chief economist, and John Bolton, his new national security adviser — new favorites who replaced aides that found themselves at irrevocable odds with their boss.
    Trump has given both men wide latitude in the West Wing, officials have said. Bolton has made rapid changes to the national security staff. Kudlow has engaged in his own media tour, appearing on business networks nearly every morning.
    But even as he's given his new aides largely free rein, Trump made clear Monday he's calling the shots.
    "Can you imagine if he said, 'No, I disagree with you?' " Trump quipped after Kudlow nodded in agreement from off-stage after Trump's economic pronouncements.
    In a moment of acute self-awareness after Bolton received a standing ovation for Friday's strikes on Syria, Trump offered a warning.
    "I'm a little jealous. Are you getting all the credit?" he said. "You know that means the end of his job."