Quick Takes: To Stop Trump, Advisors Threaten to Quit

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* Tarini Parti and Henry Gomez see a pattern developing in this White House.

In a White House that has bounced from crisis to crisis and jettisoned a record number of high-level staff during President Donald Trump’s first year, top administration officials seem to have found a way to prevent the rashest of decisions: by threatening to quit.

Three instances have been revealed just in the last two weeks, describing reported episodes that took place over the last year. White House counsel Don McGahn threatened to quit when Trump ordered him to fire special counsel Robert Mueller last summer, the New York Times reported Thursday evening. Chief of staff John Kelly “frequently threatened to quit as a way of getting people, particularly the president, to follow his orders,” the Times previously reported. And FBI director Chris Wray threatened to resign when Attorney General Jeff Sessions, encouraged by Trump, asked him to fire deputy director Andrew McCabe, Axios reported earlier this week.

That helps explain this, which was reported last October:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin reportedly have forged a “suicide pact” in which all three members of President Trump’s Cabinet would leave if one of them becomes a target of the president.

* The big story of the day is about the casino operator that Trump installed as finance chairman at the RNC.

* The White House is trying to spin the idea that their immigration plan represents a compromise that was developed with bipartisan input, but Trump gave away the secret.

I think Cotton and Perdue and Goodlatte and the people that I’ve been dealing with — Cornyn, so many of the people — these are great people.

* Today is was announced that the economy grew at 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, far short of what Trump has been promising.

* At long last someone in the media has turned the tables. Thank you Philip Bump.

The pilings of long-gone piers still jut out of the murky Hudson River in New York County, N.Y., reminders of a shipping industry that’s all-but-vanished from the region. There’s almost no manufacturing left in the towering buildings at the southern end of the county where it once thrived. Throughout the area, large warehouses once used for trade have been torn down or repurposed.

You’d be forgiven for assuming that this is the sort of place where Donald Trump would have been successful in the 2016 election. Unless, that is, you know that shipping and manufacturing left New York County a very long time ago. New York County is Manhattan; the warehouses are now art galleries and the skyscrapers where piecemeal manufacturing once took place are now offices and expensive apartments.

Far from backing Trump, Manhattan was one of the most heavily pro-Hillary Clinton counties in the country in 2016, supporting her by a 77-point margin…

…we decided to see if voters in Clinton country stood by their candidate one year into Trump’s tenure. We know Trump’s supporters are sticking with him, but are Clinton’s sticking with her? Is Trump convincing any opponents to rally to his cause?

* Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA) has been chosen to give the official Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union address next week. In case you are wondering why he got the job, check this out.

* For my money, the read-of-the-day comes from Dana Milbank. The entry is titled, “Inside the secret, sinister and very illegal cabal trying to destroy Trump.” I’ll give you a taste that will hopefully inspire you to go read the whole thing.

I have obtained, at great personal risk, the following leaked minutes from the society’s meeting on Inauguration Day last year:

20th January, anno Domini 2017

Society for Harassing and Impeaching Trump with Hearsay, Outrageous Lies and Extralegal Schemes…

The meeting was called to order at noon. Society officers greeted each other with the secret fist bump, recited the secret Pledge of Allegiance to Saul Alinsky, and then knelt for the national anthem, sung by an illegal immigrant…

The steering committee presented its Inauguration Day recommendations in a report titled “Underhanded and Conspiratorial Things We Can Do to Make Trump Look Bad.”

The society would use its contacts to convince Trump that he was the victim of massive voter fraud and that President Barack Obama personally ran a wiretap on him. This would make Trump sound paranoid.

The society would use its influence to convince Trump that Frederick Douglass is still alive and that Andrew Jackson was involved in the Civil War. This would make Trump sound dumb…

The society would convince Trump to say kind things about white supremacists, and to use a filthy word to describe African countries. This would make Trump sound like a racist.

The society, finally, would convince Trump to fire an FBI director, hire a guy named “Mooch” and declare himself a “stable genius.” This would make it clear he was neither.

I get as enraged as anyone else in this Trump era, but that is exactly the kind of laugh I need every now and then to help me survive this mess. Thanks Dana!

* Finally, this is simply gorgeous in every way.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .