Trump’s long march prob­lem

Walker County Messenger - - Front Page - By­ron York The Washington Ex­am­iner

been with him for a very long time.

Now, Trump’s style has led to an acute staffing prob­lem across the ad­min­is­tra­tion and also to high-pro­file in­fight­ing in the White House. The for­mer means that Trump can­not assert full con­trol over a mas­sive fed­eral bu­reau­cracy that is al­ready in­clined to re­sist him. The lat­ter has led to an al­most com­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in which the pres­i­dent has piled port­fo­lio upon port­fo­lio on trusted son-in-law Jared Kush­ner -- now com­monly re­ferred to as one of the most pow­er­ful men in Washington -who had no prepa­ra­tion for the re­spon­si­bil­ity.

On the ques­tion of the fed­eral bu­reau­cracy, many Trump sup­port­ers are dis­mayed by the slow­ness with which he is hir­ing for the var­i­ous govern­ment de­part­ments and agen­cies. Ac­cord­ing to a data­base com­piled by the Part­ner­ship for Pub­lic Ser­vice and the Washington Post, out of 553 im­por­tant po­si­tions that re­quire Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion -and that is by no means all the po­lit­i­cal ap­point­ments Trump has to make -- only 22 Trump nom­i­nees have been con­firmed, while an­other 53 have ei­ther been for­mally nom­i­nated or are await­ing for­mal an­nounce­ment of their nom­i­na­tions. That leaves 478 jobs with no nom­i­nee at all.

Even though that slow start across the bu­reau­cracy is prob­a­bly more consequential, the White House palace in­trigue has re­ceived the lion’s share of press at­ten­tion. Lately, the spotlight has fo­cused on fric­tion be­tween Kush­ner and top ad­viser Steve Ban­non. And that, too, is partly a func­tion of the lack-ofloy­al­ists prob­lem.

The pres­i­dent him­self sug­gested that in a re­cent in­ter­view with the New York Post’s Michael Good­win. When Good­win asked whether Trump still had con­fi­dence in Ban­non, Trump said: “I like Steve, but you have to re­mem­ber he was not in­volved in my cam­paign un­til very late. I had al­ready beaten all the se­na­tors and all the gov­er­nors, and I didn’t know Steve.”

It doesn’t take a mind reader to in­ter­pret that as a vote of no con­fi­dence. Mem­bers of the Ban­non co­terie in the White House were said to be shocked.

Vet­er­ans of ear­lier White Houses faulted Ban­non for not try­ing to build re­la­tion­ships with peo­ple who could be his al­lies in the West Wing. When trou­ble came, who would go to bat for him? But a big­ger prob­lem was re­vealed by Trump’s ob­ser­va­tion that Ban­non had only joined Trump late in the cam­paign.

In the China of Chair­man Mao, vet­er­ans of the Long March held a spe­cial place; they had been with the Great Helms­man for the en­tire

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