President Donald Trump has appointed four White House chiefs of staff during his three years as president. His latest, Mark Meadows, who has been in the role for just three weeks, is apparently having a difficult time managing both the new job and the devastating coronavirus crisis.
According to Maggie Haberman at the New York Times, Meadows is “overwhelmed” by the job and culture at the White House.
Reportedly, Meadows feels that his job revolves around appeasing Trump’s variable moods and dealing with infighting amongst the rest of the staff. Things have gotten so tough that he has reportedly burst into tears on at least two different occasions while meeting with White House staff, once with the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and once while meeting with a White House aide.
Meadows, who was friends with Trump before taking the position, has been tasked with ferreting out leaks within the administration and has changed up the way the departments communicate in an attempt to succeed at his job.
“But administration officials say he has been overwhelmed at times by a permanent culture at the White House that revolves around the president’s moods, his desire to present a veneer of strength and his need for a sense of control,” Haberman writes. “It is why, no matter who serves as chief of staff, the lack of formal processes and the constant infighting are unavoidable facts of life for those working for Mr. Trump.”
The former North Carolina congressman has a reputation for being emotional, and reportedly, he found the discussions surrounding staffing changes to be particular difficult.
Unfortunately for Meadows, Trump reportedly sees emotion as a sign of weakness.
“Mr. Meadows’s penchant for displaying emotion and showing a sense of his humanity was part of his appeal to some of his colleagues,” Haberman says.
In the White House, it’s seen as a liability. Haberman says Trump likes to “project strength at all moments.”
For his part, Meadows has apparently found working under the sometimes chaotic nature of the administration challenging. After Trump announced a list of people who were working on a task force aimed at re-opening the American economy, several of the people on the list reportedly said that they didn’t know they were on it until the president read their names in public.
Cleaning up the situation — and others — is said to have left Meadows “reeling.”
While Meadows is said to have earned the respect of many people within the administration, some say they worry that the president will “chew him up.”