From the Left



President Trump cooks up a soufflé of dysfunction

Dana Milbank on

WASHINGTON -- I had dinner over the weekend at the "soft opening" of a buzzy new restaurant, where a pedigreed chef offers an ambitious menu at a price of nearly $40 per entree.

It was more soft than opening.

The bartender, asked for a cocktail, spilled rail liquors into a glass with abandon.

The duck arrived so bloody it appeared to have gone from pond to plate without pausing before a heat source. The quail was foul, and the waiter -- there was only one, and he spent most of his time attending to a solo diner who appeared to be the chef's wife -- did not know whether they had wines by the bottle or what they might cost.

The appetizer plates remained on the table until it was time for dessert, which we had to skip to get home by daybreak.

"This," one of my dining companions said, "is how John Kelly must feel every day."


Precisely. The White House chief of staff is the maitre d' at a restaurant opening gone horribly wrong. The dishes are coming out ill-timed and half-baked, if they come out at all. The chef clearly has no idea how to cook, and all he seems to do is yell -- at servers, line cooks, investors and, particularly, restaurant reviewers. The chef has paranoid hypotheses about other restaurateurs sabotaging him. The tables are mostly empty, and the few loyal patrons are queasy.

Thanks to Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., we now have a mental image of the White House as an "adult day-care center" for President Trump. Gabe Sherman writes in Vanity Fair that presidential confidants describe him as "unstable," "losing a step" and "unraveling." The Washington Post's Ashley Parker and Greg Jaffe find some Trump aides "spend a significant part of their time devising ways to rein in and control the impetuous president, angling to avoid outbursts."

Kelly himself speaks of a fragile boss: "When we go in to see him now, rather than onesies and twosies, we go in and help him collectively understand what he needs to understand to make these vital decisions."

Maybe he was better off in a onesie?


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