So by now we are all sick and tired of hearing about the Trump White House. The endless stream of people coming and going day and night, some just a few short days after they arrived, is a sickening blur that everyone is so tired of hearing about. Hopefully General Kelly is able to make a change in the management structure within the West Wing but who knows really?
With that being said, I was watching some coverage on CNN a few nights ago and a commentator made an analogy that summed up the big issue within the White House in the most easily understood and simple terms possible. It was the analogy that I had been looking for for 6 months. It hit the nail on the head and clearly outlined the major problems that are plaguing the Trump administration and it also spoke to Trump’s own unwillingness to resolve those problems because of the unusual circumstance that he has put himself in. The family circumstance. So I wanted to give the analogy and unwrap each piece as it relates to the troubles within the White House that are more likely than not going to keep General John Kelly from making any impactful change within the administration. Unfortunately I did not write down the name of the CNN commentator who made the analogy. But believe you me, he deserves all the props.
The Trump White House is overrun with Trump’s own family members. They are playing a major role in the governance of our country without having any background in politics (which the Trump base sees as an asset) or deep understanding of the inner workings of a solid government. They are simply there because they are related to Trump. I’m speaking primarily of Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner. They are serving as advisors to the President. Advising him about policy and helping him to make decisions that directly impact the country each and every day. Ivanka, a businesswoman and model turned television personality, and her husband Jared, a real estate developer turned newspaper editor, have absolutely no background whatsoever in the political arena. They have no particular knowledge of political policy or diplomacy, cornerstones of any good advisor to the President. So, with his family serving in these senior roles in his administration, and reporting directly to him and not to his newly appointed Chief of Staff, Trump has created a unique situation for himself and his administration.
So Here’s the analogy:
Think of the White house as a restaurant. A family owned place that also employs staff that are unrelated to the owner. Imagine that you are a customer (or in this case, John Kelly) in this restaurant and you have an issue with a staff member who happens to be related to the owner (or in this case, Donald Trump). You complain to the manager who, upon hearing your complaint, advises you that they would love to help you out, but she knows that the owner (Donald Trump) isn’t going to reprimand or potentially fire the troublesome employee because that employee (Ivanka/Jared) is related to the owner. And while the manager would love to bring to light your issue and have it be addressed with the employee, she knows that it would be to no avail.
That’s what’s going on in the White House right now. John Kelly can disagree with anything or everything that is happening in the West Wing and any and all advice that Ivanka and/or Jared is giving to the President. But they have direct access to the President and they are, after all, his relatives so they pretty much get to rule the roost without fear of repercussion or ousting in a way that other advisors and cabinet members cannot. That’s one of the many reasons that General Kelly’s position is undermined from the very beginning. His position is undermined even if we had a level headed President and even if all other advisors and cabinet members were of the utmost quality. Which they are not. Because although he should be the ‘supreme ruler’ of the West Wing, he simply cannot. Too many people who should be reporting to him are reporting directly to the President, or are related to him. Trump has hired his family to work in what he believes to be another family business. But the Executive Branch of our government is not another one of Trump’s mediocre business ventures. It is the foundation of the United States government and although he obviously has no regard for the substantial nature of his position and the positions of those around him, they are substantial positions. They hold a major portion of the power in our country and they make decisions that can have lasting impacts on our country for years to come.
You may argue that if Ivanka or Jared or anyone else in the White House acted really inappropriately, say the way that Anthony Scaramucci did, Trump himself would oust them. But the truth of the matter is, Ivanka and Jared have more say in who stays and who goes than Trump. For instance, when Ivanka and Jared felt that Priebus wasn’t getting enough done with his buddies on Capitol Hill, he was shown the door. My big question is, what happens when Ivanka or Jared are no longer providing sound advice that is in the best interest in the administration or the country? Do you really believe that Trump will oust his own family? Would the owner of the restaurant in the analogy above fire his family member? The answer to both questions, in most cases and in my opinion, is no. Ivanka and Jared are safe from hearing Trump’s most famous catchphrase… “you’re fired!” This blatant nepotism is fine for the family restaurant down the block because if you don’t like it, you don’t ever have to visit that restaurant again. However, we are all citizens of this great country of ours and we can’t simply avoid it because we don’t like the way that it is being managed.
What we can do is hold our local and state elected officials accountable so that legislation drafted by this disastrous administration and its affiliates doesn’t become law. That seems to be our only power in this situation. And if you find yourself on the Trump Train, I encourage you to take a long hard look at the climate in the White House and ask yourself if this management style would be acceptable for you as a customer in a restaurant. If you could never get your order correct because they couldn’t keep a chef for more than ten days.