Lion of the Blogosphere

Who’s in charge at the Trump White House?

Trump has no clue about policy. He doesn’t understand healthcare, he doesn’t understand taxes, he’s not interesting in learning about that kind of boring stuff. Consequently, he’s not setting any top-down policy direction, leaving each cabinet member or other person of power to set their own personal policy agenda, and the agendas often conflict or have nothing to do with Trumpism.

We had hoped that Steve Bannon would be the guy setting the policy, but that has not happened. I think it’s a combination of Trump not wanting him to have too much power, and Bannon is really bad in a managerial role. He was able to run Breitbart effectively because he had the power to only hire people who believed in the stuff he did. He has no ability to herd people with conflicting agendas. We should have known he’d be a bad leader type based on his frumpy appearance.

Lacking anyone with the power to set a Trumpist agenda (although Stephen Miller still has some influence), we have a mix of TruCon types (pushing to repeal Obamacare and replace it with nothing, plus Betsy DeVos at the Department of Education) and big-business globalists (Jared Kushner, Ivanka, Steven Mnuchin, and now Anthony Scaramucci) plus a mix of other people who don’t believe in Trumpism.

That said, Trump needs Jared and Ivanka. Jared and Ivanka have been key to making Trump more effective and they are on his side because they are family. Wherever the leaks are coming from, I am certain they are not coming from Jared and Ivanka. Plus I strongly believe that Scaramucci is the right person for Director of Communications. Like Jared and Ivanka, he looks like the kind of person who can make Trump more effective in a non-ideological way.

Trump may be going along with the TruCon stuff because he still feels the sting of rejection by the Republican establishment and he’s trying to show them that he’s a “real” Republican. And Trump is easily led into going along with a big-business globalist agenda because he was from that class himself, and he feels most comfortable dealing with other rich businessmen.

Even Jeff Sessions is setting his own agenda. He’s on-board with Trump’s anti-immigration stance, but he’s doing his own thing on marijuana and forfeiture that were never part of the Trumpist agenda.

On the topic of Jeff Sessions, I was thinking about the recusal thing. Sessions recused himself because he was part of the Trump campaign and can’t investigate himself without having a legal conflict of interest. Mueller, on the other hand, doesn’t have any legal conflicts of interest. Being friends of the guy who was previously fired, and having a personal hatred of the person you’re investigating do not count as conflicts of interest in the legal sense. It’s probably pretty routine, if you think about it, that investigators hate the people they’re investigating, and prosecutors hate the people they’re prosecuting. (Which is not to say that Trump should just sit back and do nothing about a witch hunt against him, but whining about “conflicts of interest” and publicly dissing Sessions for recusing himself isn’t going to accomplish much.)

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 24, 2017 at 9:31 am

Posted in Politics

40 Responses

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  1. Even if Jared and Ivanka are not leakers, their principal hires (McMaster, Dina Powell, Gary Cohn etc) are clearly the worst leakers, and moreover are giving Trump the worst advice, are the most disloyal and are the most opposed to Trumpism of anyone in the administration. They (J+I) may think they’re acting in Trump’s best interest but they aren’t. Also the MSM has a cache of Russian opi on Jared that they’re drip-drip-dripping. He needs to go and Ivanka needs to take a reduced photo-op+diplomacy role.


    July 24, 2017 at 9:46 am

    • That should say “Russian oppo.”


      July 24, 2017 at 9:47 am

    • The Trump-hating MSM hates Jared and they want him to go, and if they feel that way, you should re-evaluate. The know Trump would be lost and in big trouble without Jivanka around.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      July 24, 2017 at 9:53 am

      • They hate everyone in the Trump admin. They sure hated Sean Spicer, so why isn’t it bad he left?


        July 24, 2017 at 9:56 am

      • That hated him, but they were never clamoring for him to be fired.

      • “Trump would be lost and in big trouble without Jivanka around.”

        True. The country is being run by two 35 year olds… and a 2 year old.


        July 24, 2017 at 10:54 am

      • They hated him, but they were never clamoring for him to be fired.

        Wut? They wanted him fired more than anyone except Bannon. SNL was doing “Sean Spicer [Melissa McCarthy] trying to save his job” sketches multiple times per episode for months, which liberals were sharing, tweeting and LITERALLY DYING to by the tens of millions.

        It was their most popular recurring sketch at least since “Celebrity Jeopardy” if not ever. It consistently was half my FB feed well into the following Monday. And the gloating over his actual resignation went even more viral. They wanted him fired.


        July 24, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      • Well then it’s going to be a very Pyrrhic victory; the Mooch is going to kick ass.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        July 24, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      • Speaking of Jared Kushner — today is the 1st time I’ve heard him speak in public. He doesn’t sound like a guy with chutzpah. Politics is not for the faint of heart. And he has a law degree. Did he go to law school just for fun?


        July 24, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      • He sounds and looks like a little boy


        July 24, 2017 at 6:16 pm

      • Yet Ivanka married him.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        July 24, 2017 at 6:22 pm

      • So Ivanka is a pedophile?


        July 24, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    • Trump needs to fire Reince. He’s too weak and timid. This David Urban guy from PA strikes me as a good replacement. Hard nosed guy who could whip the West Wing in to shape and as an expert in Pennsylvania politics (last Chief of Staff of Arlen Spector) and a Western PA native he understands better than anyone what Trumpism is and why it is essential for the future of the Republican Party.


      July 24, 2017 at 10:44 am

  2. I wouldn’t say that Trump has no ideology so much as he has vague one. His ideology throughout his entire life in the public spotlight has always been “America First”, it’s just that he doesn’t always have a clear understanding even in his own mind of what America First actually means. His lack of interest/understanding of policy nuances makes it seem like he just doesn’t care about things but that isn’t really true.

    Trump has a chaotic leadership style. This is actually very common with strongmen types. Hitler and Mussolini had very chaotic regimes and the Putin and Erdogan currently run chaotic regimes as well.

    Chaos should not be confused with incompetence, though. The only thing that the Trump admin has clearly failed at so far was getting Obamacare repealed, and at least some of the “blame” for that needs to go to McConnell. And really it is unlikely any Republican admin could have pushed through Obamacare repeal with only 52 senators.

    7 months in, TPP is dead, hundreds of regulations have been removed, the wall prototypes and land acquisition have started, we have a proto muslim ban in effect and we have already been the destruction of the immigrant community. And Trump has accomplished this despite having no honeymoon period and dealing with a widespread and very effective “Resistance”.

    Otis the Sweaty

    July 24, 2017 at 10:01 am

    • 7 months in, TPP is dead, hundreds of regulations have been removed, the wall prototypes and land acquisition have started, we have a proto muslim ban in effect and we have already been the destruction of the immigrant community.

      Here’s a Trump hating liberal who thinks Trump has been TOO successful.

      Here’s the article so you don’t give the dirt-bags at the Washington post a click:

      The one area where Trump has been wildly successful

      Progressives breathed a sigh of relief recently when Justice Anthony M. Kennedy decided to remain on the Supreme Court for presumably at least one more year. But no matter how long Kennedy stays, a massive transformation is underway in how our fundamental rights are defined by the federal judiciary. For while President Trump is incompetent at countless aspects of his job, he is proving wildly successful in one respect: naming youthful conservative nominees to the federal bench in record-setting numbers.

      Trump’s predecessors all slowly ramped up their judicial nominations during their first six months in office. Ronald Reagan named Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court and made five lower-court nominations in that period; George H.W. Bush made four lower-court nominations; Bill Clinton named Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the high court but no lower-court judges; and George W. Bush named four lower-court judges who were processed by the Senate (plus more than a dozen others sent back to him and later renominated). The most successful early actor, Barack Obama, named Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and nine lower-court judges who were confirmed.

      What about Trump? He not only put Neil M. Gorsuch in the Supreme Court vacancy created by Merrick Garland’s blocked confirmation, but he also selected 27 lower-court judges as of mid-July. Twenty-seven! That’s three times Obama’s total and more than double the totals of Reagan, Bush 41 and Clinton — combined. For the Courts of Appeals — the final authority for 95 percent of federal cases — no president before Trump named more than three judges whose nominations were processed in his first six months; Trump has named nine. Trump is on pace to more than double the number of federal judges nominated by any president in his first year.

      Moreover, Trump’s picks are astoundingly young. Obama’s early Court of Appeals nominees averaged age 55; Trump’s nine picks average 48. That means, on average, Trump’s appellate court nominees will sit through nearly two more presidential terms than Obama’s. Many of Trump’s judicial nominees will be deciding the scope of our civil liberties and the shape of civil rights laws in the year 2050 — and beyond.

      How conservative are Trump’s picks? Dubbed “polemicists in robes” in a headline on a piece by Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick, Trump’s nominees are strikingly . . . Trumpian. One Trump nominee blogged that Kennedy was a “judicial prostitute” for trying to find a middle ground on the court, and said that he “strongly disagree[d]” with the court’s decision striking down prosecution of gay people under sodomy laws. Another equated the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, upholding a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, to the court’s 19th-century Dred Scott finding that black people could not be U.S. citizens. Another advocated an Alabama law that denied counsel to death-row inmates.

      Progressives who are increasingly counting on the federal courts to be a bulwark against Trump’s initiatives will increasingly find those courts stocked with judges picked by, and in sync with, Trump. With federal judges serving for life, one might think that the process of dramatically changing the makeup of the federal judiciary would take a long time. But given Trump’s unprecedented pace, in just one more year, one-eighth of all cases filed in federal court will be heard by a judge he appointed.

      With the abolition of the filibuster, Trump’s nominees need only the votes of Republican senators to win confirmation. Yes, if Kennedy resigns and Trump nominates someone who might overturn Roe v. Wade, pro-choice Republicans could balk; and a few of Trump’s most outrageous lower-court nominations might be unnerving enough to attract GOP opposition. But the reality is that most of Trump’s rapid-fire, right-wing, youthful lower-court nominations are poised to make it to the bench.

      What can Democrats do?

      First, they need to contest every procedural change the Republicans are making to speed Trump’s nominees. Republican leaders are threatening to curtail “blue slip” rights that allow senators to block unacceptable home-state nominees; Trump is nominating candidates before they are reviewed by the American Bar Association; Judiciary Committee Republicans are arguing that nominees’ writings, legal representations and public statements are irrelevant to confirmation. Democrats should oppose these changes in the process — and, if they lose these fights, insist that any new laxity should apply when a future Democratic president sends nominees to the Senate.

      Second, Democrats need to overcome their historic unease about working closely with progressive legal groups. The pace and conservatism of Trump’s judicial nominees reflect his close alliance with a conservative group, the Federalist Society. But in the past, Democrats in the White House and on Capitol Hill have been reluctant to form a similar alliance with the Federalist Society’s progressive counterpart, the American Constitution Society, to identify potential judicial nominees. (Disclosure: I have long been active in the ACS.) When the Democrats regain control over the nomination or confirmation process, they need to be as enthusiastic about working with the ACS and other progressive groups as Republicans have been about their alliance with the Federalist Society.

      And finally, nothing is more important than taking back the Senate in 2018. The only thing that can stop the Trump train of judicial transformation is a Senate Judiciary Committee in Democratic hands. Absent that, the next two generations of Americans will live under laws interpreted by hundreds of judges picked by the president with the greatest disdain for the rule of law in our history.


      July 24, 2017 at 10:47 am

      • Thanks Rifleman. Reading that brought tears of joy to my eyes. Love it.

        Andrew E.

        July 24, 2017 at 11:12 am

    • I think the for the healthcare failure, nearly all the blame needs to go to McConnell and Ryan. It’s hard not to think they purposefully sabotaged the entire thing when after 7 years of the GOP electorate wanting Obamacare repealed and replaced, the GOP Congress brings out a bill that is entitlement reform of Medicaid and little else, the exact opposite of what Trump said he wanted in the campaign.

      Mike Street Station

      July 24, 2017 at 10:56 am

      • Trump’s campaign rhetoric on entitlements extended only to the ‘earned’ entitlements of Medicare and Social Security. His view was that people paid in and they should get it back. Medicaid is different and needs to be scaled way back. Single payer isn’t happening.

        Andrew E.

        July 24, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      • Beg to differ, but Trump did include Medicaid.

        “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,”

        Mike Street Station

        July 24, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      • I watched virtually every rally during the campaign. Trump’s entitlement rhetoric was entirely tethered to having paid in. You may be able to find a quote here and there that mentions medicaid but that’s it. Besides, medicaid, properly understood, was for those in poverty. It’s since been greatly expanded, beyond its original purpose. Trump’s only promise to the indigent was that nobody was going to die in the streets.

        Andrew E.

        July 24, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      • Well that quote was from his campaign website, so it wasn’t just a random comment. And in fact, that’s really all the Obamacare “repeal and replace” bill is, Medicaid entitlement reform. Even if it passes, we still have Obamacare.

        Mike Street Station

        July 25, 2017 at 6:30 am

      • And in fact, that’s really all the Obamacare “repeal and replace” bill is, Medicaid entitlement reform. Even if it passes, we still have Obamacare.

        Medicaid that isn’t just for those in poverty is not Medicaid, it’s become something else. When Trump says he’s not going to take away your Medicaid that means those in poverty will have an option.

        All Obamacare did was to destroy the individual insurance market and greatly expand Medicaid to compensate. Repealing Obamacare just means rolling back the Medicaid expansion and restoring the individual marketplace. Trump ran on repeal. The Senate bill begins the re-building of the individual market and the rolling back of Medicaid to its original purpose. Some of the O-care infrastructure will nominally stay in place since the Senate doesn’t have 60 votes for full repeal. But Obamacare will be mostly undone and it will become easier to make further changes to health care later on.

        Andrew E.

        July 25, 2017 at 8:49 am

      • Well I guess our expectations of the Senate bill are quite different. To me, this isn’t an Obamacare repeal. It’s…Obamacare without the Medicaid. This bill restores the Obamacare subsidies to the insurance companies, so it helps the insurance companies, removes over time the 15 million or so from the Medicaid expansion, but without fixing the individual marketplace, so the insurance disaster of high premiums and high deductibles will get worse, and the Republicans will properly get the blame.

        Mike Street Station

        July 25, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    • ” And really it is unlikely any Republican admin could have pushed through Obamacare repeal with only 52 senators.”

      I’ve thought so myself. 52 is just too slim of a majority in a divided GOP to pass anything controversial. They should have never tried to force it. It just made them look weak, divided and incompetent and kept them from gaining any momentum to do anything else. They need to forget healthcare and taxes and focus on the things they can do.


      July 24, 2017 at 11:00 am

      • Obviously not because apparently the republicans are complete delusional about health care and as soon as you call their bluff they completely disintegrate.


        July 24, 2017 at 11:40 am

  3. Grumpy appearance = bad leader? An interesting hypothesis that sounds right but . . . Is Warren Buffett not a leader? What about Lincoln and Grant? Frumpy even for their time.


    July 24, 2017 at 10:09 am

  4. I’m more worried about Trump letting the military have too much hand. At least he’s kept us out of a bigger mess in Syria after his little missile attack (remember that? how the press swooned!). But I had hoped he would pull us out of Afghanistan and other sink holes. Yet he seems to be doubling-down on it all. Sad.

    And what’s with the Russian sanctions? Big mistake if he signs that bill.

    The other thing I hope he finally starts doing is throwing people in jail. The only way he is going to stop the attack machine is to attack back. Start big: if Hillary gets arrested, watch how fast other Dems get in line.

    But part of the problem here is that he still hasn’t properly staffed the agencies he needs to staff. That’s partly due to Dem obstructionism, but it’s also his fault.

    On immigration, progress is much slower than I’d like, but at least there is SOME progress being made.

    And with all of this, we have to always remember what it would have been like under Hillary. Floodgates wide open, and probably already a shooting war somewhere.


    July 24, 2017 at 10:25 am

  5. I doubt Trump is as ignorant about taxes as he is about healthcare. He just doesn’t agree about them with you!


    July 24, 2017 at 10:50 am

  6. On the topic of Jeff Sessions, I was thinking about the recusal thing. Sessions recused himself because he was part of the Trump campaign and can’t investigate himself without having a legal conflict of interest.

    I think it’s more than that. For example, Sessions attended rallies with Trump where the crowds chanted “Lock her up!”. How is Sessions as AG going to be able to prosecute Hillary after that? Sessions’ recusal was correct, but that just means Sessions should have informed Trump of this at the beginning and removed himself from consideration for AG on the grounds that he couldn’t be effective in key areas. And Sessions signed off on Rosenstein as #2, who is pure swamp creature. I think Sessions will leave at some point.

    Andrew E.

    July 24, 2017 at 11:27 am

    • Jeez, Trump just called Sessions “beleaguered”. Ouch.


      July 24, 2017 at 11:53 am

      • Gentle Jeff might be on the way out:


        July 24, 2017 at 11:58 am

      • If Trump wants Sessions to look into Hilary’s crimes, can’t he just order him to look into them? Does he know he’s Sessions boss?


        July 24, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      • Told ya so. Trump wants pushy-aggressive New Yorker types to lead the way.


        July 24, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      • And by the way, PJW is just another prole loser from limeystan. He has no business to be a pundit for Jones’ Ameriprisonstan.


        July 24, 2017 at 5:53 pm

  7. Lion,
    I believe that Trump is trying to make progress in the areas of trade. Peter Navarro is very anti-globalization (and China) and Wilbur Ross is working hard as well. Robert Lighthizer is the USTR and is very America First. Having Bannon and Miller in there will help push this through.

    As I’ve always said from the beginning, a huge win would be a massive infrastructure bill accompanied by Buy America provisions. It would be a huge win-win. I hope Trump is trying to push this through behind the scenes. The Deep State surely is trying to go after him though.


    July 24, 2017 at 11:52 am

    • I hope Trump doesn’t replace Sessions with Giuliani. Giuliani has a terrible record on immigration. He supports sanctuary cities, amnesty, and increased legal immigration. You can’t do better than Sessions on the immigration issue.


      July 24, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      • He was the only good cabinet appointment. He’s just not a good fit in the Trump administration.


        July 24, 2017 at 6:33 pm

  8. Don’t care about healthcare; don’t care about taxes.

    All there is is: WALL or NO WALL.

    This is a one issue country.


    July 24, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    • The Wall doesn’t matter. All the matters is the destruction of the immigrant community.

      What is most likely to happen is that more agents are hired, the fencing already in existence is extended and drones and “virtual fencing” are used to cover the rest. He will declare it a Wall and his supporters will accept that but it will still be enough of a not wall that anti Wall people will be able to sleep at night.

      The key is really 2018. If we keep our net losses in the House to single digits and net 2 seats in the Senate, we will be able to say that Trumpism has survived it’s first national referendum and we will be able to move ahead with more severe methods for the destruction of the immigrant community.

      Otis the Sweaty

      July 24, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      • Who cares if the anti wall people sleep at night? Haven’t you learned anything by now? The more these people are driven insane the more they stay out of the way.

        Save America drive a shitlib to suicide.

        Paul Ryan's Sickly Old Lapdog

        July 25, 2017 at 11:34 am

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