White House Leakers Take Aim at Reince Priebus: ‘Sheer incompetence.’

by Laura Clawson –

Reince Priebus was supposed to be the adult in the White House, the guy who knew how to instill discipline and put an establishment-friendly veneer on things and generally at least create the impression that the Trump White House is a fine-tuned machine. Instead, he’s turning out to be the scapegoat in a machine that’s careening around with pieces flying off at every turn, and the people around him are running to Politico to talk about it.

In interviews, over a dozen Trump aides, allies, and others close to the White House said that Priebus, the 44-year-old chief of staff, was becoming a singular target of criticism within the White House.

They described a micro-manager who sprints from one West Wing meeting to another, inserting himself into conversations big and small and leaving many staffers feeling as if he’s trying to block their access to Trump. They vented about his determination to fill the administration with his political allies. And they expressed alarm at what they say are directionless morning staff meetings Priebus oversees that could otherwise be used to rigorously set the day’s agenda and counterbalance the president’s own unpredictability. […]

“It’s sheer incompetence,” said another White House official. “There’s a lack of management, and a lack of strategy.”

Priebus retains enough power to roll out a series of on-the-record statements in response to all the off-the-record venting, but at a certain point you have to start wondering just why Steve Bannon is such a big Priebus supporter. Could it be that he likes having his supposed coequal in the White House, the establishment voice expected to be a counterbalance to him, be incompetent and drawing attention away from him?

Of course, no article filled with leaks about the White House would be complete without a leak about the constant orders not to leak:

Some staffers roll their eyes as Priebus reiterates the need for them to not leak to the press, or as he stresses that if they want to talk to the president they need to go through him or one of his lieutenants, Katie Walsh.

“No one says anything of relevance,” said one senior staffer. “People are more than happy to schedule a breakfast and send their deputy now.”

The real question is whether, as they roll their eyes at the lectures on not leaking, the staffers are already deciding which withering quote they’re going to anonymously give to which reporter.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos