In interview after interview, President Donald Trump’s own supporters have complained that they want to see him stop tweeting and start getting to work. While sources have claimed that senior West Wing staffers have tried to distract Trump from current events to prevent him from tweeting, at this point, aides have simply given up.
Politico reported Friday that political leaders on both sides of the aisle hoped that Gen. John Kelly would be a steady voice and steady hand to the Trump White House. Instead, the Twitter-hysteria has turned 27 mental health experts to speculate the president suffers from kind of mental disorder.
“Someone, I read the other day, said we all just react to the tweets,” Kelly told the press while in Vietnam last week. “We don’t. I don’t. I don’t allow the staff to. Believe it or not, I do not follow the tweets.”
Months ago, the Trump legal team was informed that they were in charge of the president’s social media moderation. Jokes were made about whether they’d be sitting beside his bed all night. In actuality, they sat with him through hearings and were seemingly successful in preventing him from losing his cool, The Wall Street Journal reported in May.
Former Trump lawyers Marc Kasowitz and Jay Sekulow told the president he could tweet all he wanted, he simply couldn’t mention Russia. “The message was, tweet about policy, tweet about politics, but don’t attack the special counsel,” a former aide told Politico. The advice seems to have fallen like Trump’s poll numbers.
“And these days, the staff has basically stopped trying: there is no character inhabiting the West Wing who is dispatched to counsel the president when he aims the powerful weapon of his Twitter feed at himself,” Politico wrote.
The worst case scenario came to fruition when Trump attacked Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) Thursday night for doing exactly what he has been accused of himself. It prompted a full 24 hours of commentators bringing back Trump’s infamous “Access Hollywood” tape as well as the 20-plus accusers alleging a range of crimes from a forced kiss to rape.
White House aides and allies saw Trump’s Twitterstorm as another example of his tendency to accuse others of what he’s also guilty of. “When he sees an opportunity to hit, he will hit,” one White House official told Politico.
The Franken attack was simply another regular day, according to another former administration official. Given that the president is at “a sub-40 job approval rating with a tough midterm cycle ahead. It doesn’t matter if there are vulnerabilities on their own side: they’re going to take anything they can get,” the former aide continued.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to downplay Trump’s tweet during the Friday press briefing, but Politico revealed that some allies were concerned bringing up the allegations against Trump could backfire as his base dwindles.
“I know a lot of women who held their nose and voted for the guy because they thought Hillary Clinton is a criminal,” a person close to the administration explained. “This just reminds them that they had to hold their nose and vote for him, and they won’t do it again because he won’t be running against Clinton.”