Trump Attack: The Long Knives of Washington
The Establishment War on Trump
The controversy surrounding the performance and resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn is an incident that foreshadows the future of the Trump administration for as far as the eye can see. It will be a long and relentless siege.
The Flynn resignation raised questions of honesty and trust. It was the right call in an untenable situation. No president or vice president can tolerate what amounts to insubordination disguised as faulty memory. Nothing is more important than credibility.
Flynn was an easy target for what amounts to an all out assault on the president. Flynn proved to be his own worst enemy. But the retired general, along with everyone else in Trump’s inner circle, are stand ins for the president himself. The long knives are out for Donald Trump.
Much of the president’s early and rapid-fire action by executive order has gone unnoticed up to now, with the glaring exception of the highly distorted and misunderstood immigration orders. Instead, daily news coverage dwells on the president’s flood of tweets, his high-flyer lifestyle, and his wealthy associates.
Trump is right when he says he’s only doing what he said he would do. His supporters love it; his enemies are shocked. After all, politicians are supposed to ignore the voters once they are elected. It is still lost on nearly everyone in the Washington establishment that Trump won the election precisely because he challenged conventional political behavior that left millions of voters betrayed and angry.
Now the establishment is up in arms. Members of Congress and their staffs, high-priced lobbyists on K Street, disgruntled has-beens in Washington think tanks, and the childishly petulant media, are furious that Trump did not did not give them a wink and a nod and fall into line with the ways of Washington. In both policy and politics, the president continues to hold his ground.
So now the Trump administration will be subjected to destruction by leaks. No one will be off-limits, especially the president himself. The real prize for Trump’s establishment opposition will be investigations of the president’s past and present business interests. Although he’s done his best to shield himself from frivolous charges of conflicts of interest, the establishment will continue to look for the golden nugget that they believe will land the president in personal scandal.
Meanwhile, the Washington swamp will be awash in Trump administration targets. As always, the attacks will be anonymous. This is how leaks operate in the vast bureaucracy that fuels the political opposition. The objective is personal destruction of those in the inner circle with the hope of splattering mud on the man at the top.
Who will be next now that Flynn is gone? Reince Priebus? Steve Bannon? Stephen Miller? Even the president’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner will be fair game. The cabinet will be under constant scrutiny and attack.
But the Washington establishment will underestimate Trump’s resolve. Unlike so many before him, Trump is more than likely to blunt the long knives that seek his failure and destruction. He won’t give up.
Presidential portrait offered by Donald J Trump, Jan 20, 2017
During the course of his career, Walker has worked in Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Phoenix. He served as a reporter in Chicago, a press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, and in numerous positions in New York in corporate and financial services communications.
Walker is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.