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Donald Trump vs. John Kelly vs. Jared Kushner vs. Jeff Sessions vs. H.R. McMaster

The most common complaint in any White House when it comes to how the media cover a president and his administration ...

Posted: Feb 21, 2018 10:44 PM
Updated: Feb 21, 2018 10:44 PM

The most common complaint in any White House when it comes to how the media cover a president and his administration is that there is way too much focus on palace intrigue and not nearly enough on policy proposals.

That is, that the media's obsession with who's up and who's down in the eyes of the president winds up overshadowing the details of what and how the president is going to make laws.

But the Trump White House isn't traditional in any way -- this very much included.

This is a White House that is all palace intrigue and almost zero policy. President Donald Trump is someone who, dating back to his days as a reality star, loves to play members of his inner circle off against one another. He believes this sort of law-of-the-jungle management style brings out the best in those around him. People operate best when in combat for their work lives -- and all that.

The result? A White House in which battles between senior staffers or even between the President and members of his Cabinet are the rule rather than the exception. The personalities in the ring rotate but the (in)fighting is constant.

Witness the last 24 hours.

On Tuesday night, The New York Times reported that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and White House chief of staff John Kelly were feuding over the latter's attempt to reform the security clearance issues within the administration highlighted by the resignation of former staff secretary Rob Porter.

Wrote Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Maggie Haberman:

"Mr. Kushner, frustrated about the security clearance issue and concerned that Mr. Kelly has targeted him personally with the directive, has told colleagues at the White House that he is reluctant to give up his high-level access, the officials said ...

"... But Mr. Kelly, who has been privately dismissive of Mr. Kushner since taking the post of chief of staff but has rarely taken him on directly, has made no guarantees, saying only that the president's son-in-law will still have all the access he needs to do his job under the new system."

Little did we know that Kushner-Kelly was just the undercard!

On Wednesday morning, Trump himself tweeted this:

"Question: If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama Administration, right up to January 20th, why aren't they the subject of the investigation? Why didn't Obama do something about the meddling? Why aren't Dem crimes under investigation? Ask Jeff Sessions!"

(Trump initially misspelled Sessions' name by leaving off the last "s" and then later corrected his tweet.)

That jab amounted to the latest in a series of swats Trump has taken at his attorney general. Trump has called Sessions "beleaguered" and "very weak" via Twitter and said he would never have appointed the former Alabama senator as the nation's top law enforcement official if he suspected that Sessions would recuse himself in the Russia investigation.

This, from Dan Merica's story on Trump's latest tweet, is eye-opening in regards to the ongoing strains in the Trump-Sessions relationship:

"It was clear to people Trump was speaking with over the weekend and sources with knowledge of his feelings, though, that his disdain for Sessions hasn't gone away.

One person said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's televised announcement Friday of indictments against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election reignited Trump's anger at Sessions.

'He will never get over Sessions recusing himself,' a person familiar with the President's thinking said."

Sessions is far from unique in falling out of favor with the President. In just the last week, there have been reports (or public examples) of Trump's ire directed at the following people: Kelly, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin.

And Trump has privately fumed at a far-longer list of administration officials including Rosenstein, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Supreme Court nominee/justice Neil Gorsuch and special counsel Bob Mueller.

That list doesn't even include the various senior-level people Trump has fired or pressured out, including former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, chief of staff Reince Priebus, deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, senior political strategist Steve Bannon and, of course, former FBI Director James Comey.

Or his feuds with Republican senators like John McCain, Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, Mitch McConnell, Lisa Murkowski, Lindsey Graham and Dean Heller, among others.

Trump likes confrontations. He likes public back and forths. He likes insult trading. He knows that palace intrigue makes good TV -- and that's what he serves up.

Process -- who does Trump like or hate RIGHT now -- isn't a sideshow in the Trump administration. It's the only show in town.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 295295

Reported Deaths: 6724
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19672230
Hinds18799386
Harrison16710278
Rankin12685264
Jackson12592226
Lee9687160
Madison9457199
Jones7962146
Forrest7208136
Lauderdale6833226
Lowndes6022137
Lamar588080
Lafayette5733113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4609123
Oktibbeha441393
Panola430394
Pearl River4167130
Warren4129114
Pontotoc408869
Marshall403192
Monroe3989126
Union395374
Neshoba3807168
Lincoln3541102
Hancock347374
Leflore3375118
Sunflower318386
Tate302474
Pike300195
Scott293870
Alcorn291861
Itawamba289975
Yazoo289262
Tippah278765
Copiah277857
Coahoma277568
Simpson274878
Prentiss269758
Wayne253841
Marion252678
Leake252471
Covington248879
Grenada247377
Adams234377
George231745
Newton229652
Winston221675
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201151
Holmes182270
Clay179150
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170539
Clarke169371
Calhoun157828
Smith152731
Yalobusha144836
Greene127633
Walthall124140
Noxubee122829
Montgomery122438
Perry121634
Lawrence120321
Carroll118225
Amite111533
Webster110630
Jefferson Davis101731
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93324
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77114
Franklin76119
Choctaw69516
Jefferson62527
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493769

Reported Deaths: 9931
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson710731374
Mobile36139727
Madison32425455
Tuscaloosa24184410
Montgomery22586500
Shelby21968215
Baldwin19758283
Lee14967153
Morgan13667251
Calhoun13300286
Etowah13184319
Marshall11262209
Houston10104261
Elmore9385185
Limestone9363134
Cullman8897181
St. Clair8827223
Lauderdale8607211
DeKalb8459175
Talladega7523163
Walker6524255
Jackson6495102
Autauga627091
Blount6102127
Colbert6004118
Coffee5249102
Dale4642107
Russell404930
Franklin399177
Covington3960106
Chilton3876100
Escambia377672
Tallapoosa3588142
Clarke343650
Chambers3413110
Dallas3403141
Pike293472
Lawrence283484
Marion281995
Winston246867
Bibb245060
Geneva239970
Marengo236455
Pickens224654
Barbour211651
Hale210568
Fayette200756
Butler196866
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163740
Washington156535
Crenshaw144854
Clay144454
Macon142043
Cleburne137839
Lamar132833
Lowndes131151
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105627
Sumter98531
Coosa88923
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
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