Ever since Trump was inaugurated, one of the words used most often to describe this administration is “chaos.” That makes it hard to talk about the fact that things have actually gone downhill from there. It can seem as if they started at the bottom, how much lower can they go? Apparently a lot.
When we talk about a presidential administration, we use the metonym of calling it the “White House” (using the building to refer to the group that works there). That’s why I think Jay Rosen nailed the situation with this tweet:
There is no White House. Not as that term has been conventionally defined. There's Trump… and people who work in the building. The metonymy broke. https://t.co/Q3Y05B9yW8
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) March 1, 2018
He might have gone farther and suggested that what we have is Trump…and the people who are either at war with the president or each other in the building. Here are just a few of those battles that we know about:
- Trump is at war with AG Sessions, the Justice Department and intelligence agencies
- Chief of Staff Kelly is at war with Jared and Ivanka, as well as Don, Jr.
- Economic adviser Gary Cohn is at war with trade policy adviser Peter Navarro
In just the last couple of days, we’ve learned that more than 30 Trump aides (including Jared Kushner) have lost their security clearance, at least four countries have discussed how they can manipulate Kushner by taking advantage of him, and the Kushner family business got over $500 million in loans from two companies after Jared held meetings with them. What this basically comes down to is that if you were to take everything Trump and the media accused “crooked Hillary” of doing and multiplied it by a factor of 10, you might start to approach what we’re seeing from just one person in this administration—the president’s son-in-law. And we haven’t even gotten to the question of whether or not they engaged in a conspiracy with Russia to influence the election.
Add to that the fact that staff turnover in this administration is over 30 percent, three times higher than the same period in the Obama presidency, as well as the myriad of scandals that have plagued members of the cabinet.
As I perused the news this morning, I couldn’t help but think that this country is being tested in a way that we’ve never seen before. Chaos is just one symptom of the fact that this administration is consumed by a combination of malevolence and incompetence. Our founding fathers missed the mark when they failed to add those to “high crimes and misdemeanors” as justifications for impeachment of the whole lot of them.