Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

John Kelly is doomed to fail. The reason why isn’t what you think.

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Sarah Posner has a good column in the Washington Post:

President Trump tweeted nine times this morning, attacking the “failing” New York Times, other “fake news” outlets (including the Washington Post), “hoax Russian collusion,” and Richard Blumenthal, the Democratic senator from Connecticut, as a “Vietnam con artist” who “cried like a baby.”

Today’s string of tweets represented Trump’s most voluble social media outburst since John Kelly, a retired Marine general, became his chief of staff just one week ago, promising to restore order to a chaotic West Wing and, in particular, to push the president’s tweets “in the right direction.” On the social media front, Kelly is — not surprisingly to anyone who has even casually observed the president’s behavior over the past two years — off to a shaky start.

Today’s Twitter flare-up would seem to suggest that Kelly is destined to fail as Trump’s law and order chief of staff because Trump’s impulsiveness cannot be constrained.

But that’s not the real reason he cannot succeed. Rather, it’s because Trump’s base, and in particular, his media and social media base, thrives on West Wing dysfunction that is rooted in what is portrayed as an existential battle between Trump’s “nationalist” staff and advisers, and the dreaded “globalists” in his midst. Because Trump has displayed no real interest in taming that beast, and in fact seems to relish feeding it, any effort by Kelly to slap Trump’s hand away from Twitter will have little impact on the persistent unrest roiling the White House.

Here’s a case in point. While Trump was denouncing “fake” (i.e., mainstream) news on Twitter this morning, Breitbart, the far-right news site formerly run by his top strategist Stephen K. Bannon, had been running a story since last night attacking National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster. The headline: “McMaster Worked at Think Tank Backed by Soros-Funded Group that Helped Obama Sell Iran Nuclear Deal.”

That Breitbart story attempts to link several of the right wing’s bogeymen, including McMaster himself, liberal philanthropist George Soros, and former President Barack Obama, in a liberal-funded “echo chamber” that has been promoting the Iran nuclear deal to the public.

That story comes on the heels of a Daily Beast story over the weekend detailing an ongoing clash between McMaster and Bannon. This one reported that last week, Kelly gave a green light to McMaster’s firing of two National Security Council staffers from the Bannon camp, NSC intelligence director Ezra Cohen-Watnick, and Trump Middle East advisor Derek Harvey. The Daily Beast reports that this “landed McMaster in the firing line of Bannon’s alt-right media allies and Russian troll bots, both calling for his ouster.”

Pro-Trump media outlets have pointed to other alleged evidence of McMaster’s duplicity. This morning, pro-Trump media outlets are still buzzing about a recent story in Circa, another player in the pro-Trump media world, which claimed that McMaster had renewed Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s security clearance.  The Weekly Standard reports this practice is standard procedure to maintain continuity in national security matters between administrations.

But in the Trump media world, it’s evidence of a “deep state” conspiracy. And that’s the kind of news Trump likes.

By specifically naming the New York Times, The Post, CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS as “fake news” and, in the same tweet today, boasting that his base is “getting stronger,” Trump signaled his continuing gusto for dividing the world into rivalries, including between the “fake news” and pro-Trump media. “Fake news” is on the side of the “establishment” and the pro-Trump media is on the side of, and possibly indistinguishable from, the burn-it-all-d0wn Bannon camp.

Indeed, Trump has offered . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 August 2017 at 7:57 pm

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