Donald Trump, we were told, was really gonna shake things up following the midterms. An exodus was coming, whether it was because heads would roll or staffers would simply dart toward the exits. But as usual, Trump has over-promised and under-delivered, with perhaps one notable exception—he did axe Attorney General Jeff Sessions, even as the White House attempted to sell his firing as a resignation.
But other than that, Politico notes few staff changes while a host of major positions in the Trump administration remain either unfilled or minded by a temporary occupant. There’s no United Nations ambassador or deputy national security adviser, for instance, and both the Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency are headed by temporary appointees.
The result is an administration in a holding pattern. Trump has offered almost nothing in the way of a legislative vision for 2019 beyond approval of a new trade deal and vague references to infrastructure. His only clear priority is enforcing border security.
So once again, what could have been a “pivot” for the administration and Trump’s White House has devolved into a leaderless, visionless, flailing mess. No agency heads can do any reasonable planning for the next couple years. No one really knows what Trump wants to do or might do. It’s just an administration adrift, with its main goal being to avoid going under.
And it’s a disaster that simply builds on itself. No truly qualified person is going to risk ruining their career so they can go to work for ol’ Dumpster fire. Plus, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has effectively told Trump to keep his paws off his GOP Caucus after losing Jeff Sessions’ seat last year and then ultimately losing that Senate seat to Democrats (among other missteps).
Asked by The Associated Press about the next attorney general this fall, McConnell was unequivocal: “It’s not going to come from our caucus, I can tell you that.”
Next year, with all the fresh subpoenas coming Trump’s way and no actual game plan in sight, is going to be simply SPEC-TAC-U-LAR.
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