White House In-Fighting Is Nothing New
As Troy shows, White House in-fighting is nothing new. In fact, it is the rule, for there are many reasons for the legendary, often searing rivalries.
Some appointed to serve the president fight for their point of view; others fight to advance their careers, while others fight because it is in their nature.
What’s more remarkable is the depth to which the fighting can sink. Harry Truman’s secretary of state, George Marshall, for example, would not speak to the younger White House aide Clark Clifford, or even mention his name again after one bruising encounter. Over thirty years later, Reagan administration officials sank to planting leaks using the speaking styles of colleagues so that they could escape blame.
President Donald Trump’s White House
Looking at Trump’s White House a dominant theme is staff dysfunction. The Trumpian “soap opera” like popular soap operas, does have a notable cast and gripping drama.
The opening act centered around chief strategist, Steve Bannon. Bannon was an intellectual street fighter with an idiosyncratic worldview at odds with both major political parties.
From the White House vantage point, Bannon declared war on two fronts-against political moderates and establishment Republicans. He would launch criticism of moderate, non-ideological New Yorkers, like Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband Jared Kushner.
Bannon also took on former Goldman Sachs executive, Gary Cohn, who became head of Trump’s National Economic Council. He referred to them, derisively as “The Democrats” or “The Globalists.” Kushner had trouble understanding why Bannon, with whom he had allied during the 2016 presidential campaign, was suddenly his White House opponent.
Trump’s Revolving Door-Mirrors “The Apprentice”
A revolving door of White House employment mirrored Trump’s famous television show “The Apprentice” where he delivered the catch phrase, “Your Fired”. White House turnovers dwarfed that of other administrations and did not end with Steve Bannon’s abrupt departure in August 2017. In the first two years of the Trump administration, the key positions of chief of staff, national security adviser, press secretary, economic adviser, White House counsel, and communications director all changed hands at least once.
In the first two years of the George W. Bush administration, only one of those positions changed hands, as Communications Director Karen Hughes left to return home to Texas.
In the Trump White House, short tenures and frequent departures were the rule and a key part of the drama, and it is still going on to this day.
What Truman Inherited From Roosevelt
What Truman inherited from Roosevelt was not aligned with his personal preferences toward conflict or slipperiness. Yet when presented with a Brownlow-recommended White House staff as a concept and reality, Truman was determined to use it to his advantage.
This meant that at least some conflict would be inevitable. In these early days, the structure of the White House staff was informed. To quote Clark Clifford, who served as Truman’s special counsel, “There was no hierarchy within the White House. There was no organization chart… I never received any instructions from any other staff members; I got them from the President.”
Truman saw the White House staff as a team of equals, as Clifford wrote, “The organization of the White House was a group of individuals, and they were individuals who were equal in status.”
Harry Truman, could have chosen to create a more formal structure but pointedly did not. Clifford attributes this conscious decision to Truman’s time in the Senate and the personal, oral way he liked to be briefed while there; “The President got more from personal contact than he did from other forms of contact.”
Truman’s approach had its advantages but it could be off-putting to those not equipped to deal with oral briefings or White House egalitarianism. There was the risk that traditionally higher-ranking individuals, such as cabinet secretaries, might resent the fact that as Clifford observed, there seems to be “no particular rank…between the persons in the White House.”
In Fight House by Tevi Troy, you will discover:
President Trump’s White House is famously tumultuous, and is a never ending revolving door for employment, even though The Trump administration turnovers are the largest in political history, Troy depicts that the rivalries in the White House is nothing new for Presidential administrations.
-The adviser to President Harry Truman that General Marshall refused to achknowledge
-How the supposed “Camelot” Kennedy White House was very apparent with conflict, from his brother being Attorney General, to the Cuban Missilie Crisis.
-How Dr. Henry Kissinger displaced other national security advisers to gain President Nixon’s ear.
-Why President Jimmy Carter’s personal pettiness and obsession with detail led to a dysfunctional White House-and played a role in his losing the 1980 election.
-How the contrasting management styles of President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan led to some epic White House staff clashes.
-Why the “No Drama Obama” White House was anything but no drama.
Fight House by Tevi Troy is insightful, entertaining, and important, it will delight and instruct anyone interested in American politics and presidential history.
Politics in the past 20 years has become such a partisan practice, that it is splitting the United States to likes we have not seen since the Civil War. The clashes between Democrats and Republicans are so non-negotiable, and mainly because no one party wants to give an inch to the other. These partisan ways are very concerning to me, being an independenat voter and an advocate for policiesh that both parties are pushing for, if we don’t have a government that works for the people, then we have failed, and will continue to fail. If the past is any indicator, we have to work together to see changes that are good for all.
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All The Best,