Pulitzer Prize-winning political journalist Maggie Haberman identified Donald Trump’s bungled transition as the “original sin” for how the administration is unfolding.
Three days after the 2016 presidential election, Trump fired transition head Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) over the Bridgegate scandal. During the first weekend after the election, loyalists to Gov. Christie were ousted in what NBC News called a “Stalinesque purge.”
Haberman, White House correspondent for The New York Times, highlighted this mistake as causing Trump’s current staff crises.
Haberman was commenting on an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” with Donald Trump, Jr. worrying about the lack of staffers his father can trust.
“I think there are people in there that he can trust, it’s just — it’s a much smaller group than I would like it to be,” Trump, Jr. acknowledged. ““I’m talking outside family. That goes without saying.”
“It would be easier to get things done if you’re able to fully trust everyone around you,” he noted. “I think that’s a shame.”
“The Woodward book has underscored, again, that the original sin for how this administration has unfolded was the chucking of the transition planning,” Haberman tweeted.
“Six months of planning was tossed out. The normal factions one would see in a transition were pronounced and emboldened. People – like [Mike] Flynn – were rewarded for loyalty despite concerns from the co-leaders of transition, Christie and [Jeff] Sessions,” she continued.
“And Trump was dazzled by the idea of hiring people who had no interest in sitting in meetings with him prior to his victory, such as Gary Cohn and Rex Tillerson,” Haberman reported. “It never occurred to him or to some close to him that Cohn and Tillerson would have a hard time becoming staffers.”
“No non-Trump family member is ever fully empowered,” she concluded.
Julie Davis, Haberman’s New York Times colleague also covering the White House, agreed.
“This has not been the only damaging dynamic, but as we near the two-year mark since Trump won, it remains the most enduring subtext to literally every crisis that has played out during his presidency,” Davis explained.