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White House down

Ruth Marcus on

And there may be more disruption ahead. CNN describes national security adviser H.R. McMaster as "increasingly isolated" and at odds with Defense Secretary James Mattis, worrying those of us calmed by the idea of grown-ups in charge providing a buffer against presidential pique. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, publicly undercut by Trump, took time off last week, generating rumors of "Rexit" to come.

Every new White House has its rocky moments and personnel readjustments, some more than others. Every White House suffers from factionalism and infighting, to some degree. But Washington, and the country, has never seen anything like this. The truest -- and scariest thing -- that Scaramucci said on CNN was that "there are people inside the administration that think it is their job to save America from this president."

So the usual solutions -- a new chief of staff, empowered to oversee operations and say no to the president -- seem naive and inadequate to the task.

This president appears incapable of allowing his presidency to be saved, primarily because he is incapable of and unwilling to change. He will not allow himself to be governed; he cannot govern himself. Perhaps things will settle down, but that is hard to imagine. The past six months feel like prologue to even more turbulence.

At this point, the remaining mystery is how, when and how badly this disaster of a presidency will end.

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Ruth Marcus' email address is ruthmarcus@washpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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