Speed Reads

The Real White House

Michael Flynn was reportedly already persona non grata by Trump's last Mar-a-Lago visit

When White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said on Monday afternoon that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had President Trump's "full confidence" — hours before Flynn stepped down — she was apparently "out of the loop," The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night. The newspaper's look at Flynn as canary in the Trump coal mine, by reporters Michael C. Bender and Rebecca Ballhaus, begins like this:

Dining at his oceanside resort in Florida on Friday, President Donald Trump was surprised to learn that National Security Adviser Mike Flynn was sitting at a nearby table, a person familiar with the event said. "What is he doing here?" the president said, describing the man who was once at the center of his political orbit as "very controversial." [The Wall Street Journal]

Flynn, despite his loyalty to Trump and simpatico worldview, was always viewed warily by some White House officials, The Journal reports, giving as an example a red-eye flight senior advisers Stephen Bannon and Jared Kushner took to Washington before Trump's inauguration to reassure future Cabinet members about Flynn. "We tried to help him succeed," a senior administration official told the newspaper. "It was absolute dysfunction." And Flynn isn't likely to be the last casualty of Trump's chaotic, power-jockeying White House, WSJ suggests. The conservative-media circle of the Trump orbit is apparently gunning for Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

"Reince Priebus walked Mike Flynn to the gallows," political operative Roger Stone said Tuesday, calling his departure a "Pearl Harbor moment" for Trump supporters. "Trump loyalists are fed up with Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer whose loyalties are to the Republican National Committee, and not to the president." Priebus is also reportedly in a power struggle over ambassador nominations with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, while Conway is facing ethics inquiries and Press Secretary Sean Spicer is being ridiculed on Saturday Night Live. You can read more at The Wall Street Journal.