The good news is, this is not chaos. “No WH chaos!” President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday morning.
(He said this as Anthony Scaramucci ran past him, covered in bees, and jumped into a lake. Metaphorically speaking.)
On the one hand, the president has a point. The White House had just gotten rid of Scaramucci as its communications director that same day, and for any other workplace, that would not have been a sign of chaos at all. That would be a sign that it had read, seen or heard anything that Scaramucci had said at any point, noticed what an obvious nonsense person he was and realized that hiring him had been the result of one particularly egregious typo. But this is the Trump White House, where hiring Scaramucci in the first place, a man given to profanity-laced tirades, was assumed to be a permanent move that would give him Great Power and that the people on the internet whose job it is to hope that the White House knows what it is doing all immediately wrote to say was Just What The White House Needed.
But maybe John Kelly, a retired general, will impose order on the White House now. Every time there is a staff shake-up (or, more usually, every time Jared Kushner is tasked with a new policy boulder to roll endlessly and pointlessly up a hill), you get several inspiring stories that imply in the warmest terms that This Is The One True Sane Guy In The Room, and when Trump tried to crush a bird in his hand just to prove he could do it, This One Brave Man said not to. In Kelly’s case, the optimistic story says that when Trump wanted to build a big wall and fire the FBI director, he said no in no uncertain terms (or, I guess, in some slightly uncertain terms, because he is still there working for Trump, and Trump did fire the FBI director). But the point stands that this sort of story is now leaking to fill us, in theory, with hope.
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It has been too long since I remembered the feeling of hope. Scaramucci’s 10 days in the White House felt like 10 of those days from the Bible where each day is enough time for the earth to be formed and life to evolve out of nothingness. Geological epochs have passed, and I have withered and lost my youth and all my limbs are now fossils.
Meanwhile, Kushner is leaking to the White House interns that the Trump campaign was TOO INCOMPETENT TO COLLUDE WITH ANYONE (Kushner continues to be both a particle and a wave; his collusion cat is always dead, though), and then the interns told a reporter. This is a fine defense and not a sign of chaos or panic on anyone’s part.
This also seems to be the defense Trump plans to use, as a source told The Post: He doesn’t feel as though he has done anything wrong, and therefore he assumes he hasn’t. This could be a fine policy if we were 100 percent sure that he had taken at least a couple of those online quizzes where you prove you aren’t a sociopath. Also, it turns out that Trump dictated the erroneous statement about his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer. But that is fine, because there are worse ways he could be dictating. Save it for statements, not the American people.
And a lawsuit is alleging that the Trump White House was behind the bogus story on Fox News (retracted, with ZERO resignations) that Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich was murdered for being the real source behind WikiLeaks. It must be almost relaxing to live in a world where the biggest problem is the hypothetical misdeeds of the Hillary Clinton administration.
Anyway, no chaos.
Also, among other details in the various stories about Reince Priebus’ departure, came the news that the Oval Office has a fly problem. I invite you to go through every story that has been written about the past six months and picture everyone in the stories swatting flies. It makes them much funnier. Here, for instance, is one from January’s New York Times.
President Trump, who flew across the country on hundreds of nights during the 2016 campaign to sleep in his own bed, has now spent five straight days in the unfamiliar surroundings of the White House. His aides said privately that he seemed apprehensive about the move to his new home, but Mr. Trump has discovered there is a lot he likes. AND EVERYTHING WAS COVERED IN FLIES.
“These are the most beautiful phones I’ve ever used in my life,” Mr. Trump said in a telephone interview Tuesday evening, AS HE SWATTED AN ENORMOUS HORSEFLY. THE WHOLE OVAL OFFICE WAS PACKED WITH FLIES, BUZZING AND HUMMING AND DARTING FROM ONE SURFACE TO THE NEXT.
“The world’s most secure system,” he added, laughing. “The words just explode in the air.” JUST LIKE A FLY WOULDN’T. What he meant was that no one was listening in and recording his words. THREE FLIES LANDED ON HIS HAND, AND HE MADE REINCE PRIEBUS SWAT THEM.
The president sat at his desk — the one used by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy, among others — at the end of his fourth full day in office. ALSO THERE WERE FLIES EVERYWHERE, DANDLING THEIR TINY LEGS AND RUBBING THEM AGAINST ONE ANOTHER AND BUZZING. HE WAS THEIR LORD, THE LORD OF THE FLIES.
But Scaramucci is gone, and Kelly agreed that Monday was a Great Day. “Yes sir,” he tweeted. He is going to run the organization like a finely tuned machine. Like a car, say, driving off the edge of a cliff.