Mar 1, 2018

The wild wars within the Trump White House

Hope Hicks on stage with then President-elect Donald Trump during a rally in December, 2016. Photo: Mark Wallheiser / Getty Images

After a crazy 24 hours, sources close to President Trump say he is in a bad place — mad as hell about the internal chaos and the sense that things are unraveling.

The big picture: Hope Hicks leaving is obviously a huge blow to him. Every time he reads about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his head explodes. The staff is just trying to ride out the storm.

Everywhere you look inside this White House, top officials are fighting, fomenting, feuding or fleeing, insiders say in conversations with us.

  • Hope Hicks — without question, the aide (family aside) with whom Trump is closest — resigned one day after she admitted in closed-door Hill testimony that she told white lies for the president.
  • White House Chief of Staff John Kelly cracked down on Jared Kushner, stripping his top security clearance, and watching anonymous aides leak about and trash him, while offering no public defense of the president’s son-in-law. 
  • Jared, Ivanka and Don Jr. let it be known to friends they are furious with Kelly and his allies. 
  • Jared loses his internal P.R. guru, Josh Raffel, when he needs him most.
  • Economic adviser Gary Cohn is at war with trade policy adviser Peter Navarro.
  • Trump is at war with Attorney General Sessions. ... N.Y. Times lead story: "Trump Tears Into Sessions Over Russia Investigation." ... WashPost: "Behind the scenes, Trump has derisively referred to Sessions as 'Mr. Magoo,' a cartoon character who is elderly, myopic and bumbling."
  • Intelligence chiefs use every chance possible to contradict the commander-in-chief on Russia. 

Be smart: Trump is in a bad, mad place, feeling ill-served and confined by staff. The people he genuinely enjoys and feels close to are gone (Keith Schiller), leaving (Hope) or getting pounded in the press (Jared).

  • The restraints are almost fully loosened, and what staff sees in private is more public than ever.
  • We have never seen top officials this concerned, defeated. 

Get more stories like this by signing up for our daily morning newsletter, Axios AM. 

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,429,437 — Total deaths: 82,074 — Total recoveries: 300,767Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 398,785 — Total deaths: 12,893 — Total recoveries: 22,083Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Acting Navy secretary resigns over handling of virus-infected ship — Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill — Trump said he "didn't see" memos from his trade adviser Peter Navarro warning that the crisis could kill more than half a million Americans.
  4. States latest: California Gov. Gavin Newsom is confident that more than 200 million masks will be delivered to the state "at a monthly basis starting in the next few weeks."
  5. Business latest: America's food heroes in times of the coronavirus crisis. Even when the economy comes back to life, huge questions for airlines will remain.
  6. World updates: China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown.
  7. 2020 latest: Polls for Wisconsin's primary elections closed at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, but results won't be released until April 13. Thousands of residents cast ballots in person.
  8. 1 Olympics thing: About 6,500 athletes who qualified for the Tokyo Games will keep their spots in 2021.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Wisconsin won't be declaring a winner tonight

A Wisconsin poll worker wearing PPE guides people through a line outside of a polling place. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Polls for Wisconsin's primary elections closed at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, but results won't be released until April 13 due to a back-and-forth on absentee voting amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: Democratic Gov. Tony Evers attempted to delay the state's election in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 in polling places. The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned his order Monday and said the election must be held on Tuesday as originally scheduled.

Trump hits WHO on coronavirus: "They should've known"

Trump briefs reporters at the White House on April 7. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump claimed at a press briefing on Tuesday that the World Health Organization "probably" knew about the dangers of the novel coronavirus pandemic months before the agency sounded the alarm.

The big picture: The WHO declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern on Jan. 30 — 10 days after the CDC confirmed the first case in the U.S. and 11 days after South Korea announced its first case. Chinese officials told the WHO's China office about cases of COVID-19 on Dec. 31.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health