Politics

Despite Evidence of Chaos, Trump Says White House ‘Running Very Smoothly’

But president ignores advice by lashing out at Special Counsel Mueller

President DonaldTrump heads for Marine One on the White House's South Lawn. On Thursday, he denied chaos has returned to the West Wing - then lashed out at Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III. (Photo by John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

Despite evidence to the contrary, President Donald Trump on Thursday denied chaos has returned to the West Wing — then immediately fired off a broadside against Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Trump was visibly agitated during a weekend diplomatic trip to Paris, including frustration with aides who advised that him canceling a Saturday trip to a cemetery where nearly 2,000 U.S. soldiers who died in World War I are buried would not become a major news story. It did and Trump reportedly let his staff know about his frustration.

He also did not hide his annoyance with French President Emmanuel Macron during his time in Paris before lashing out at him Tuesday morning.

 

Back in Washington, the president spent much of Monday holed up in the White House residence. He did not go to Arlington National Cemetery to honor fallen military members even though it was the federal holiday observing Veterans Day, which was on Sunday. A Roll Call reporter never saw the Marine guard outside the West Wing doors that signals the president is in the West Wing.

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Earlier this week, an internal riff with his wife, Melania Trump, over Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel, who clashed with the first lady during her recent swing through Africa. After his wife asked in private that Ricardel be fired, her office told inquiring reporters that the first lady wanted Ricardel terminated.

On Tuesday, Trump used a Diwali ceremony at the White House to chide FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, apparently for his decision to nix a proposed merger between Sinclair Broadcast Group with Tribune Media. The president said he did not like the decision, without naming it, "one little bit," and seemed to deride that Pai "is independent" of any presidential authorities.

All of that was happening amid speculation that Trump is about to follow his ouster of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions with a broader purge that could include Chief of Staff John Kelly and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen — possible changes that Trump shrugged off during a press conference last week, saying everyone eventually leaves every administration.

“The White House is running very smoothly and the results for our Nation are obviously very good. We are the envy of the world,” the president wrote as snow fell outside the White House.

He then blamed the “FAKE NEWS MEDIA” for “always seeking to make us look as bad as possible!”

But CNN cited a source saying this about Trump's mindset since the midterm elections that say the GOP lose control of the House: “Yes, he's pissed — at damn near everyone.”

The president, who in a court filing said he can revoke any reporter’s White House press pass, called the media “crazy.” He then turned his sights on Mueller and his team, labeling them “absolutely nuts.”

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“The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess,” adding his view that the special counsel has “found no collusion.”

“They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want,” Trump wrote, offering not a single example nor anecdote of such tactics.

Though some Republican lawmakers and advisers have counseled the president against using harsh rhetoric toward Mueller and his team because it creates optics of chaos around him, Trump did just that on Thursday.

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He called Mueller and his staff “a disgrace to our Nation,” alleging they do not “care how many lives the ruin.”

Trump noted Mueller was FBI director under Democratic President Barack Obama, but excluded that he interviewed Mueller to return to the post just a day before he became special counsel.

And in his signature fashion, the president ended his Twitter rant in all capital letters: “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!”

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