On Monday, President Donald Trump insisted on Twitter that there was no “turmoil” in the White House and that any suggestion otherwise was just more misinformation from the “Dishonest Media.”
And then on Tuesday, that internal chaos of the administration poured out into public.
It began, as it so often does, with a Trump tweet. He revealed that National Security Adviser John Bolton, a controversial figure for decades, is no longer a part of the administration:
….I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service. I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2019
Many were cheered by this announcement, given that Bolton is a fierce warmonger who never should have been hired by any president. But was Trump’s claim even true? Bolton countered the president’s narrative almost immediately:
I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, “Let’s talk about it tomorrow.”
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) September 10, 2019
But it didn’t end there. Not content to just let the two competing stories run, Bolton began apparently began text every member of the media he could think of. He texted Fox News, Washington Post reporter Robert Costa, and the Daily Beast.
“Let’s be clear, I resigned, having offered to do so last night,” he told Costa. “I will have my say in due course. But I have given you the facts on the resignation. My sole concern is US national security.”
Despite Trump’s claim that the decision was made Monday night, the White House sent out a schedule to reporters at 10:55 a.m. — just about an hour before Trump’s tweet about Bolton — which said that the national security adviser would be appearing alongside the secretary of State and the Treasury secretary to brief the press on Tuesday afternoon.
So, let’s review: Trump claimed there was no “turmoil” in the White House. Then he announced that he was firing his national security adviser — the third person to hold the position in as many years — because his views clash so drastically with him and others in the administration. That firing, however, seemed not to be planned out, because the White House had said Bolton would be performing official duties about an hour before the tweet. Bolton directly contradicted the president after the tweet, clearly insulted, and went to multiple media outlets to deliver an alternative version of events. He even promised that he has more information to provide in “due course.”
Does this sounds like a White House that is, as Trump himself once described it, a “well-oiled machine”?