- Alexi McCammond
- May 13
Trump's inner circle is getting smaller
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
President Trump's trust in his staff is weakening, particularly as the James Comey debacle continues to unfold, and he's relying more and more on his family and himself, the AP's Julie Pace and Jonathan Lemire report.
The Comey case was a clear reflection of how Trump's inner circle is getting smaller with each controversial event. His communications staff was reportedly given an hour's notice to figure out how to explain Comey's firing to the public. Three WH officials told AP that Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist, learned about the news from TV, but one person close to Bannon challenged that narrative.
One-man show: Despite his communications staff, Trump increasingly views himself as the sole effective spokesperson for his administration, according to AP. By the end of the week, he had reportedly floated the idea of cutting the frequency of Sean Spicer's daily press briefings.
But: He's also considered expanding the comms team, even eyeing Fox News producers to join his staff.
And then there were four: Bannon has reportedly been pushed to the fringe on major decision-making. Instead, Trump's loyal and most trusted inner circle is Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Hope Hicks, and Keith Schiller (the man who delivered the letter to Comey).
Newt Gingrich: "The challenge they have is that the president sometimes moves so rapidly that they don't get a team around that gets it organized," Gingrich told AP. "He's a little bit like a quarterback that gets ahead of his offensive line."
Why it matters: We've seen what happens when Trump decides to go it alone — his narrative challenges everything the WH had said about the matter, particularly with his reasoning for firing Comey, and it looks as if Trump is going rogue or, as David Axelrod put it, his staff members are either liars or fools completely left in the dark.