The White House is putting together a “war room” to deal with the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation, but staffers are fighting a major obstacle — the president himself.
Officials said their task was made more difficult because President Donald Trump frequently — and without warning — blew up the White House communications strategy in public statements or on Twitter, reported The Daily Beast.
“It’s a seemingly impossible task,” one senior administration official said. “A disproportionate amount of our time has been spent reacting to ill-advised tweets.”
For example, the president gathered his senior advisors in the Oval Office to decide on a response to news that a special counsel had been appointed, and they agreed to present Trump as calm and untroubled by the development.
However, the next morning an unsupervised Trump hopped on Twitter to complain about “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”
Aides have begged the president to stop tweeting, which they have explained presents political and legal problems if he’s not careful with his language — but the best they can do his try to keep him too busy to post on social media.
“We can’t exactly take away his Twitter, what do you want?” a senior aide said.
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon are laying the groundwork for the war room, the website reported.
Those two high-ranking officials will oversee its general strategy, but other senior communications staffers — including Cliff Sims, director of White House message strategy, and Andrew Surabian, deputy policy strategist — will manage day-to-day operations.
Surbian is one of Bannon’s closest aides and former political director of the Tea Party Express.
Sims, who previously ran the Alabama politics site Yellowhammer News, was identified by The Daily Beast as the staffer who suggested that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower.
Their backgrounds suggest the White House will present the “deep state” and partisan media as enemies trying to bring down the Trump presidency in an effort to deflect attention from the investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, and Kellyanne Conway, former campaign manager and current White House adviser, may also play roles in pushing back against law enforcement and congressional investigations.
Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner — who himself is a target of the probe — is helping Bannon and Priebus set up the war room.