The really shocking part of the White House shouting match

National security adviser John Bolton and White House chief of staff John Kelly ...

Posted: Oct 22, 2018 4:06 PM
Updated: Oct 22, 2018 4:06 PM

National security adviser John Bolton and White House chief of staff John Kelly got into a shouting match outside the Oval Office on Thursday, according to reports from CNN and Bloomberg. Profanities rang through the West Wing and staffers began to speculate as to which of the two officials, arguably the two top White House aides to the President, would resign first.

Then came damage control. That included this White House's most dependable form of confirmation that the brouhaha actually took place: The President denied knowing anything about it.

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Immigration

Immigration, citizenship and displacement

International relations and national security

John Bolton

Political Figures - US

US federal government

White House

Kirstjen Nielsen

In any other presidency, an event like this would be shocking. Senior White House officials don't usually behave so unprofessionally in the open and, more importantly, most presidents would object if they did. Behind closed doors, all administrations have blow-ups. But decorum used to matter in ways it clearly does not for Team Trump.

This battle was only the latest example of chaos in an administration that surfs the bubbling froth of constant turbulence from dawn to dusk. From Bob Woodward's book "Fear" to the steady stream of resignations, departures, firings, indictments, convictions and scandals that have dogged the Trump executive branch, reports of internal disarray and conflict are so common, staffers might reasonably expect combat pay just for showing up each day.

But there was something shocking about Thursday's fight. The battle apparently was over immigration policy. And it took place, reports said, because during the White House meeting that preceded it, the President and Bolton were making the case, sources told CNN, that Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was not being tough enough on migrants heading to the southern border, not deterring them fiercely enough. Kelly defended the record of Nielsen, his former deputy.

Think about that for a moment. Nielsen, whose DHS stole migrant children from their parents, put the children in pens, made babies defend themselves in immigration court, made immigration policy the subject of investigations by global human rights organizations, was being derided by the President and Bolton for being too soft on immigration.

Family separation? Deporting soldiers who served their country? Deploying National Guard? Defying court orders? None of these were tough enough for Donald Trump and Bolton, who apparently were arguing that we need even more odious and un-American border policies than the ones that regularly have cartoonists depicting the Statue of Liberty weeping into her hands.

Trump clearly sees political benefit to more border-related fear-mongering, as his frantic tweets about a "caravan" of Hondurans heading our way suggest. Clearly Bolton -- like the White House architect of anti-immigrant policies, Stephen Miller -- shares the President's view.

And clearly, Kelly and Nielsen, not to date known for their conscience or restraint on these policies, were seen as too permissive.

In a Washington that's hard to shock, that's truly mind-boggling. Senior officials shouting obscenities at each other in one of the most revered places in all of America? Not so much.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 5713
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17561191
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Rankin11102217
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Jones6607114
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Holmes171368
Clay164237
Tallahatchie155635
Stone149525
Clarke144762
Calhoun139922
Smith127725
Yalobusha121134
Walthall114037
Greene112929
Noxubee112225
Montgomery111236
Carroll106422
Lawrence105617
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Jefferson Davis87727
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Humphreys84224
Kemper80020
Quitman7049
Franklin69617
Choctaw62513
Wilkinson59625
Jefferson56520
Sharkey44817
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
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Marshall10357123
Houston8886158
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Elmore8120104
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St. Clair7763125
Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
Autauga532761
Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
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Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
Geneva208746
Marengo206529
Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
Fayette177029
Butler172459
Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
Wilcox106622
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Perry99118
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Choctaw51724
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