2. What brutal Rexit tells us about POTUS
President Trump's firing-via-tweet of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, following his sudden imposition of tariffs, reflects the president's increasing comfort with solo use of his awesome power over policy, personnel and politics.
- Be smart: White House officials tell Jonathan Swan and me that it's getting ever more difficult for aides to disagree with Trump, or stand up to him about the consequences of decisions great and small.
- We're told Trump trusts his own instincts and counsel more than he did a year ago. So it's getting harder to talk him out of acting on whims and grievances.
- And with the departure announcements by aides who have had a moderating or restraining influence, he has ever fewer restraints and guardrails.
- What's next: The big question inside the West Wing is whether Trump keeps going and pushes through a complete overhaul.
Why it matters, from N.Y. Times: "Tillerson’s dismissal, on the heels of Gary D. Cohn’s resignation, pulls the Trump administration further out of the economic and foreign policy mainstream and closer to the nationalist ideas that animated Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign."
- "As the White House absorbed the news about Mr. Tillerson, rumors swirled that the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, and the secretary of Veterans Affairs, David J. Shulkin, would soon follow him out the door."
- "The sense of disarray was deepened by ... the sudden dismissal of a personal aide to Mr. Trump."
N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, calling Tillerson on Friday to tell him that change was afoot, and to cut short a trip to Africa: “You may get a tweet.”
- How it's playing ... Bloomberg: "Trump Moves Closer to Presidency of One With Tillerson Firing."