President Donald Trump’s White House lashed out Friday at stories saying that the administration is torn by inner turmoil and that controversial senior advisor Stephen Bannon may be on his way out after a palace coup by establishment Republicans aligned with presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.
TheHill.com said the administration is complaining that its victory dance about the airstrikes on Syria Thursday night and the confirmation of its Supreme Court nominee is getting stepped on by too many stories about palace intrigue within the White House.
“Outside forces,” said administration spokeswoman Lindsay Walters, are trying to sabotage the Trump presidency by gossiping about the contentious relationships between major White House players.
“Once again this is a completely false story driven by people who want to distract from the success taking place in this administration,” Walters complained. “The president’s pick for Supreme Court … was confirmed today; we hosted multiple foreign leaders this week; and the president took bold and decisive military action against Syria last night.”
She denied reports of a coming staff shakeup by saying, “The only thing we are shaking up is the way Washington operates as we push the president’s aggressive agenda forward.”
Stories of backstabbing and internecine conflict have dogged the Trump administration at every step. Multiple staffers have spoken to the media describing a chaotic, highly competitive environment with staffers jockeying for the chief executives favor and attention.
This week, former Breitbart.com CEO Stephen Bannon was removed from the National Security Council and replaced by national security professionals. Bannon reportedly had a tantrum, threatening to quit the administration altogether, but was talked down by billionaire Republican mega-donor Rebekah Mercer.
“If Bannon leaves the White House, Bekah’s access and influence shrinks dramatically,” a Republican operative told Politico.
Bannon — whose political capital has diminished since the disastrous rollout of his anti-Muslim travel ban — dismissed reports that he threatened to leave the White House as “total nonsense.”