In Fear: Trump in the White House — excerpts of which have been published by the Washington Post — veteran journalist Bob Woodward describes a “nervous breakdown,” depicting President Donald Trump as a mercurial, unpredictable, paranoid leader struggling with the fact that he is the chief executive of the world’s richest and most powerful country.
Numerous media reports have painted a similar picture. A new report from Vanity Fair, based on interviews with 10 former West Wing officials and Republicans close to Trump, claims that the president is universally hated inside the White House.
Following the longest and most expensive government shutdown in U.S. history — caused by Trump’s insistence on receiving funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border — the president was reportedly looking forward to delivering his State of the Union speech.
“He was in a great mood and really seemed ready to go,” a Republican ally of Trump’s told Vanity Fair, adding that the generally positive reaction to the speech appears to have lifted the president’s spirits. But the relative success of Trump’s SOTU speech has reportedly done nothing to ease the tensions inside the White House, on the contrary.
According to the publication’s West Wing sources, what’s causing the frustration among White House staffers is President Donald Trump’s alleged tendency to run the West Wing “as a family business.” The president’s daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, remain favorites, and enjoy a privileged status.
“This is a family affair, and if you’re not in the family, you’ve got problems,” a source told Vanity Fair.
Shine, Kudlow and Mulvaney have all about had it with Trump. My latest:https://t.co/iKzlQzCYVA
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) February 8, 2019
The dysfunction inside the White House has long alienated staffers, but even the president’s most loyal allies appear to be turning against him now. Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow are both looking for a way out, according to the report.
On February 3, Axios published Donald Trump’s schedules. Leaked by one of the president’s staffers, the schedules reveal how much time Trump actually spends working. The documents showed that Trump spends around 60 percent of his time in “Executive Time,” watching television, reading the papers, and generally procrastinating and avoiding work.
The very fact that Trump’s unstructured schedules have been leaked signals that those closest to the president are turning against him, according to former officials.
“Trump is hated by everyone inside the White House,” one former official said.
“Trump always needs someone to blame,” another one added, explaining that the leak of the president’s private schedules is a clear sign that White House staffers are desperate and dissatisfied.
“It’s total misery. People feel trapped,” a former White House official concluded.