LOS ANGELES, July 31, 2017 — It has been confirmed that Anthony Scaramucci is out as White House Communications Director, not more than 10 days after he was installed. With last week’s impromptu resignation of Reince Preibus as White House Chief of Staff and the installation of General John Kelly as his replacement, it’s time to record the latest “Trumplash” to hit the American people.
@Trumplash is actually a Twitter account set up for the purpose of, “Archiving the backlash of the Donald Trump voter base.”
There is also a Google Group under the same name, mostly documenting the fall out from the on-again, off-again travel ban; and the media, traditional, alternative, and otherwise have used the term “Trumplash” to refer to the permutations and often rapid-fire policy and staff changes that seem to be coming from this White House. This is the context I choose to use it: you think you are just getting used to a new normal in the Trump administration, and you get rear-ended… again.
So is this part of the chaos of an incompetent President, or is it by design?
There are many in the Never Trump camp who point to this as proof that President Donald Trump is as ineffective and destructive of a leader as they thought he would be. Those firmly in the Pro-Trump camp continue to cheer and rally, pointing to it as more “draining the swamp” or changing the way things are done in Washington.
The truth is often somewhere in the middle; perhaps it is a bit of both. While missteps have abounded with the Trump White House, I also suspect much of it is by design. President Trump wants to keep the media and even his own staff on its heels, and this method of hiring/firing, and policy delivery via tweet is one way of doing it.
You can look back to the campaign and tell he was a boss who liked to keep everyone off-kilter. Anyone was delusional who thought that would suddenly change once he was sworn into office; but hope sprung eternal anyway.
President Trump also uses these moments to deflect and change the subject, so far quite successfully. When he was first elected, and the Trump University decision was handed down, the media was having a meltdown over that, as well as the potentially dangerous appointments in a Trump/Pence administration and what that would mean for the country.
So what did then President-elect Trump choose to tweet about?: Well, the cast of the Broadway sensation “Hamilton” chose that particular moment in time to lecture Vice President-elect Mike Pence (who took in the show with his family) about civility and inclusiveness.
The video went viral, and so did President-elect Trump, who tweeted out this gem:
The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2016
The Twitterverse and traditional media jumped on it like dogs in heat, and the Trump U decision and the appointments fell off the radar for that news cycle. I made note of this:
Notice the focus on @HamiltonMusical/Pence, has shifted focus from Trump U and appointments? Well played, @realDonaldTrump, well played.
— Jennifer O O'Connell (@asthegirlturns) November 19, 2016
If you’ve been observant, boys and girls, President Trump has been doing the same Trumplash head fakes throughout the short six months of his four-year tenure. The most recent instance involved his “disappointment” with Attorney General Jeff Sessions over Sessions recusing himself from the Russia investigation.
Note that the President’s New York Times interview and piece happened right around the time that light was shone on Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner’s pre-election meeting with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin.
As soon as the piece was released, President Trump started tweeting and counter-tweeting about it. What happened to the Russia chatter and the actual hearings where Kushner was questioned? Who knows, because it was pushed off the trending news, and became almost non-existent. Barring an actual finding of anything concrete in the Russia investigation, this writer has serious doubts that it will trend at the top of the news anytime soon.
You can thank these last two waves of Trumplash for this.
We’ll see how long President Trump continues to play this tune, and how long the media dances to it like a Pavlovian dog.