Between White House Chief of Staff John Kelly being sidelined over Staff Secretary Rob Porter's exit, the absence of Porter's information vetting skills, the looming departures of trusted aide Hope Hicks and maybe other top officials, scandals and security downgrades buffeting Jared Kushner, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's encroaching investigation, President Trump's already unusually freewheeling White House is on the verge of a chaotic meltdown. Everyone was saying so Thursday:
The Associated Press: "Rattled by two weeks of muddled messages, departures, and spitting matches between the president and his own top officials, Donald Trump is facing a shrinking circle of trusted advisers and a staff that's grim about any prospect of a reset. ... Rarely has a modern president confronted so many crises and controversies across so many fronts at the same time."
The New York Times: "For 13 months in the Oval Office, and in an unorthodox business career before that, Donald J. Trump has thrived on chaos, using it as an organizing principle and even a management tool. Now the costs of that chaos are becoming starkly clear in the demoralized staff and policy disarray of a wayward White House."
Axios: "After a crazy 24 hours, sources close to President Trump say he is in a bad place — mad as hell about the internal chaos and the sense that things are unraveling. ... Everywhere you look inside this White House, top officials are fighting, fomenting, feuding, or fleeing. ... We have never seen top officials this concerned, defeated."
The Washington Post: "Trump often likes to sow misdirection, running the White House like a never-ending reality show where only he knows the plot. But even by his standards, the day-long period that ended Thursday left some senior aides and Republican lawmakers wondering whether the White House had finally come unmoored, detached from any type of methodology that past presidents have relied on to run the country and lead the largest economy in the world."