trump and pence
Credit: The White House/Flickr

The last time James Comey captured the national spotlight, he got himself fired and the president earned himself an independent counsel. We’ll have to see what fireworks explode the second time around, but don’t expect the White House to be overly prepared:

Former FBI Director James Comey is about to return to the national spotlight with the release of his memoir next week — but the White House is doing little to prepare for the onslaught, according to two officials.

These officials said it’s understood within the West Wing that laying out an advance media strategy is largely a futile exercise since President Donald Trump could blow up any prepared talking points with a single tweet.

Instead, senior aides are hoping Trump’s trip to South America and subsequent summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago will provide a distraction, as well as an opportunity for the president to appear above the fray.

Imagine working someplace where you know your company is about to be the subject of a sustained period of red-hot international news that will be incredibly damaging to your reputation, but you don’t even bother to think about how to respond because it would be a “futile exercise” to lay out a plan that your boss would just ignore.

Now imagine the exact same environment for setting a policy for Syria or Ukraine or the opioid epidemic, immigration policy or anything else of critical interest to the country.

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at