Feb 5, 2017

The state of Trumpland

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Every news outlet, us included, has done countless stories of jockeying, infighting and confusion inside this White House. Two weeks in, here's where things stand, based on the unvarnished view of Trump insiders:

  • The most influential voices in shaping what the president does and says are Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller. They flooded, not just filled, the early void, and prevailed in early skirmishes. They got too much attention, too soon, so have retreated a bit, albeit temporarily.
  • Chief of Staff Reince Preibus asserted himself this past week, and got a boost internally from Trump telling aides he runs the show. That shows that the president knows he needs his lifeline to the establishment, and some semblance of order. Bannon and Preibus sat down with reporters to insist they get along great, and several bit.
  • Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have the surest staying power, despite being overshadowed early on. It was telling that their allies leaked stories to Vanity Fair and others about their concerns with the refugee executive order and restrictions on LGBT freedoms. They are playing the long game.
  • Gary Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs exec, made his public debut as a force, rolling out the rollback of Dodd-Frank in the WSJ and on CNBC. Cohn is the newest top player inside the White House, so it'll take time to see how he meshes with the others.
  • Kellyanne Conway had a rough week, PR-wise, admitting she was wrong about "the Bowling Green massacre," and getting rejected by CNN as a Sunday morning guest on Jake Tapper's show. But she remains close to the boss: He likes that her opinions sometimes differ from those of the men around him, and loves the way she fights for him on the air.

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