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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How “adult day care” at the White House works

Baby-sitting The Donald is an important job
Related imageThis weekend, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) ruffled feathers in the White House, leveling a slew of attacks on President Trump that culminated with the Tennesseean tweeting, “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”

Politico’s Josh Dawsey reports that ten current and former Trump insiders, including West Wing officials, confirm that “adult day care” is exactly the role that the president has forced them into.

The sources told Dawsey that in order to avoid inciting a presidential tantrum, aides employed delay tactics and distractions to sideline Trump from acting on his ill-informed urges. 

Dawsey writes:
“Trump would impulsively want to fire someone like attorney general Jeff Sessions, create a new wide–ranging policy with far–flung implications like increasing tariffs on Chinese steel imports or end a decades–old deal like the North American Free Trade Agreement. Enraged with a TV segment or frustrated after a meandering meeting, the president would order it done immediately.

“Delaying the decision would give [former Chief of Staff Reince] Priebus and others a chance to change his mind or bring in advisers to speak with Trump – and in some cases, to ensure Trump would drop the idea altogether and move on.”

The strategy dates back to Trump’s days as a private citizen, where Barbara Res, a former executive in the Trump Organization, notes “you either had to just convince him something better was his idea or ignore what he said to do and hoped he forgot about it the next day.”


Those traits have only been exacerbated by the Oval Office, where aides say Trump often comes in, enraged by a Fox News reports he just saw or a conversation with Stephen Miller, and staffers have to distract him with a chart or a phone call until he forgets what got him worked up in the first place.

White House aides report that one reliable source of distraction they sought out had been Corker, lending credence to the Senator’s accusations. 

Dawsey writes:
“Corker, for example, has been called by White House aides several times to speak with Trump about foreign policy, from Iran to Syria to North Korea to his Afghanistan strategy; sometimes, he’d check in with senior officials like Tillerson and Mattis before talking to the president. 

One senior administration official said Corker had even been put on speaker phone in the Oval Office, where aides sat gathered in chairs.”

When President Obama handed the reins of the executive branch to Trump, few were under the illusion that the president would again be the smartest man in the room for some time. We hoped, however, that he could at least be one of the adults.

Those hopes were in vain, and now we must deal with the reality that the President of the United States needs a team of executive babysitters to keep him from taking the country even farther off the rails than he already has.

SHEILA NORTON IS A WRITER WITH TEN YEARS OF CAPITOL HILL EXPERIENCE. SUBSCRIBE TO THE OD ACTION EMAIL TO GET ALL THE HOTTEST NEWS DELIVERED RIGHT TO YOUR INBOX EVERY DAY AT WWW.ODACTION.COM