Speed Reads

Trump White House

Reince Priebus is quickly becoming the Trump administration's scapegoat

President Trump is clearly upset about the headwinds his young administration has faced, especially with the good-news-quashing revelation that Attorney General Jeff Sessions misled the Senate about meeting Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential campaign. But Trump's advisers and friends have found a place to put the blame for Trump's rocky start, Politico reports, citing interviews with "over a dozen Trump aides, allies, and others close to the White House": Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. Politico summarizes the beefs with Priebus:

They described a micro-manager who sprints from one West Wing meeting to another, inserting himself into conversations big and small and leaving many staffers feeling as if he's trying to block their access to Trump. They vented about his determination to fill the administration with his political allies. And they expressed alarm at what they say are directionless morning staff meetings Priebus oversees that could otherwise be used to rigorously set the day's agenda and counterbalance the president's own unpredictability. ... They point to his habit of sprinting into meetings — "He literally runs," said one senior administration official — which has led top aides to believe that he is trying to edge his way into their conversations or monitor their discussions with the president. [Politico]

One White House official accused Priebus, 44, of "sheer incompetence," telling Politico: "There's a lack of management, and a lack of strategy." Strategy, of course, is the wheelhouse of chief strategist Stephen Bannon, who puts in a good word for Priebus to Politico. The anonymous officials, though, are pretty clear that Trump and his inner circle are frustrated. "Things aren't going as smoothly as one had hoped," said one senior administration official, and "Reince, fairly or not, is likely to take the blame and take the fault for that."

Politico notes that "it is unfair to solely finger Priebus for the administration's missteps," since "much of the fault can be assigned to the president himself — a notoriously unpredictable figure who relishes drama." Priebus gets caught up in that drama just like everyone else. And he has his defenders in the White House, too, Politico reports: "He has engendered particular loyalty among those staffers he brought aboard, many of whom work in the press office. Some advisers joke the communications office is more protective of Priebus than the president." You can read more about Priebus' prospects at Politico.