Donald Trump’s White House is practically bleeding out. The back-to-back exits of economic adviser Gary Cohn and communications director Hope Hicks along with rumors that national security adviser H.R. McMaster may be next have to make one wonder: Who’s gonna be left? Well, the “talent pool” (if there ever was one) of main influencers has dwindled considerably to people who roughly fit into three main categories: racists, liars, and family members. Here’s a quick look at the main aides left to devise, plan, and implement both policy and messaging.
With both Hicks and staff secretary Rob Porter out, the person who will likely spend more time with Donald Trump than anyone is chief of staff John Kelly, whose moral compass on multiple fronts has proven lacking. His recent assertion that some Dreamers were “too lazy to get off their asses” and apply for DACA coupled with his remorseless smear of a black female lawmaker during Trump’s attack on a Gold Star widow have placed him squarely in camp racist.
Sitting there alongside Kelly is Stephen Miller, originator of the White House’s most nativist, nakedly anti-immigrant policies ranging from the disastrous Muslim ban to curtailing the refugee program to promoting the idea that immigration policy should “produce more assimilation” (i.e. favor whites over people of color).
Together, Kelly and Miller have tag-teamed the defeat of every possible fix for Dreamers that had a chance of passing Congress. Unfortunately, their repulsive instincts appear poised to reign supreme in the current iteration of the White House.
Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders are like the dynamic duo of lying: one’s never met a lie she couldn’t justify and the other’s never met a lie she didn’t like telling. Sanders lies unflappably about whatever she’s told to lie about—she clearly thinks that’s her job. Conway, on the other hand—fabricator of the “Bowling Green massacre” and proud mama of the “alternative fact”—has a certain flair for lying.
Anyway, whatever policies Trump & Co. come up with, however hideous or inane, count Conway and Sanders in! They’ve got a million bridges to sell you from the office of crumbling infrastructure.
Speaking of crumbling infrastructure: Javanka. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are still coloring Trump’s White House with the taint of nepotism. But with the Hicks’ departure, their hold on Trump’s presidency is getting more Hope-less all the time. They’re no friend of Kelly, perhaps the biggest power broker in today’s West Wing. But their biggest problem is the fact that Mueller’s investigators are circling Jared’s seedy financial dealings. Rumor has it Jared’s presence is putting so much heat on the White House that Trump has enlisted Kelly to help push Kushner out. And now that Kelly has downgraded his security clearance, Jared’s existence is more show than anything.
All that is to say, the West Wing “Democrats”—once billed by mainstream media as a moderating force on Trump—are now more likely to inflame Trump’s worst impulses than smooth his ruffled feathers.
“People will always come & go,” Trump wrote on Twitter. He appears to be right about at least one of those two things—a decent ratio by his standards.