Chaos, competing factions, and a culture of fear, plague the Trump White House

The Washington Post reports: With President Trump in his fourth full week in office, the upheaval inside the administration that West Wing officials had optimistically dismissed as growing pains is now cementing itself as standard operating procedure.

Trump — distracted by political brushfires often of his own making — has failed to fill such key posts as White House communications director, while sub-Cabinet positions across agencies and scores of ambassadorships around the globe still sit empty.

Upset about damaging leaks of his calls with world leaders and other national security information, Trump has ordered an internal investigation to find the leakers. Staffers, meanwhile, are so paranoid about being accused of talking to the media that some have resorted to a secret chat app — Confide — that erases messages as soon as they’re read.

The chaos and competing factions that were a Trump trademark in business and campaigning now are threatening to plague his presidency, according to interviews with a dozen White House officials as well as other Republicans. Most requested anonymity in order to candidly discuss internal White House dynamics and deliberations.

Some senior officials are worried about their own standing with the president, who through his casual conversations with friends and associates sometimes seems to hint that a shake-up could come at a moment’s notice. Aides said they strive to avoid appearing “weak” or “low-energy” — two of Trump’s least favorite attributes.[Continue reading…]

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