By Ryan Lizza 11:09 A.M.
Last week, a senior White House official shared a candid theory with me about why President Donald Trump and his team have been adrift since November: they’ve yet to adjust to the post-election reality, and they haven’t yet learned how to operate without a single, common enemy—Hillary Clinton—to focus on. It was a frank admission that a team built for winning a campaign has so far failed at governing.
The early results of this experiment in governance by the least experienced have not been promising. The White House staff has been riven by competing factions to an extent that invites comparisons to “Game of Thrones” or “Lord of the Flies.” Michael Flynn, the national-security adviser, was forced to resign over his pre-Inauguration contact with the Russian Ambassador—but, even before Flynn’s ouster, the National Security Council, which coördinates all American foreign policy, had become dysfunctional. On Thursday, Flynn’s intended replacement, Robert Harward, turned down the job because, as a friend of his told CNN, working in the chaotic Trump White House looked like a “shit sandwich.” A Presidential order blocking travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries has been halted by the courts, and a federal appeals court in California has ruled that the Administration’s central argument for reinstating the travel ban—that the President’s powers as Commander-in-Chief are not subject to judicial review—“runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.” An editorial in Der Spiegel, the sober-minded German newsweekly, recently described Trump as “a pathological liar” and “a racist” who “wants to establish an illiberal democracy,” and called on Germany to lead an international alliance against him. Tony Thomas, the four-star general who runs the military’s Special Operations Command, recently wondered whether the U.S. government is “stable.” After four weeks in office, Trump is the least popular new President since the advent of modern polling, during the Truman Administration.
Why Trump Needs an Enemy - The New Yorker