‘I’m already scared’: Federal officials fret over how Trump’s inept administration will handle a real crisis
After spending the campaign claiming he was the only one who could make a deal, President Donald Trump has caused financial and political anxiety throughout the country. It’s prompted many federal officials to fear what might happen when an actual crisis occurs.
A Sunday Politico story interviewed officials who focused on the new leader’s erratic instability.
“It’s going to be very hard for this president to line the country up in a crisis because he himself is not reliably steady in how he is talking to the country,” said Kori Schake, a fellow at the Hoover Institute. “This is the opportunity cost of the president’s reckless tweeting and creating a non-stop sense of melodrama about our domestic politics.”
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) agreed but cautioned those complaining that it was their own fault for electing a man who proved to be unpredictable during the campaign too.
“This was a crisis of their own making, yet they were unprepared to even inform the public and respond to basic questions. It’s scary to think about how they might react to a serious domestic or international crisis,” Schatz said.
Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) admitted, “I’m already scared. I actually think we’re spinning toward a crisis very fast. I’m a pretty imaginative guy, I’ve written three books, I’ve won an Emmy for a documentary—I wake up every day in stunned disbelief to the length to which he goes.”
Less than a month into his presidency, White House staffers were admitting that they were “scared to death” and already hunkered down in “survival mode.” Evidently, the chaos is not something Washington, D.C. politicos are accustomed to experiencing, particularly after eight years of President Barack “no drama” Obama.
A “West Wing confidant” explained in February that it looks like “nobody is in charge” in Trump’s White House. That was shortly after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was fired. The confidant said that it shows the Trump administration is either “reckless” or simply has “total incompetence.”
Clearly, not much has changed in the past 90 days. Politico explained that with so much confusion between Trump and his spokespeople on the spin and excuses, it makes the White House look aides are outright lying. Ultimately, no one, president nor staff, appears as if their statements are trustworthy. Even Trump reinforced the doubt with his Friday Twitter meltdown saying, “it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at a podium with perfect accuracy.”
“By having so many false, misleading statements, what it does is it now makes it hard for members of Congress, and even the judiciary, to trust what this administration says,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) told Politico. “That is a massive problem when you don’t then have time to react, as in a crisis. If a crisis deals with people outside the United States, you have foreign leaders who now don’t trust the president either.”
The Foreign Affairs Committee member isn’t alone. His ally in the senate committee is fearful the president isn’t capable of handling his scandals in addition to leading the country in a responsible way.
“When your entire national security policy is coming out of the White House, how do you walk and chew gum at the same time, if there’s an internal White House political scandal and an external national security crisis?” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT).
He went on to say that Trump has “a very transactional foreign policy” and needs to understand that the only way such a policy works is if other countries assume you’re behind honest and forthcoming.
“This loose association with the truth has real consequences for a foreign policy that’s going to be based on truth,” Murphy continued.
Even Trump-whisperer Newt Gingrich agreed that things would probably be better if Trump was a little more measured and level-headed.
“He would be better off if he went slightly slower, held a huddle and everyone knew that what they were doing from day one,” he said.