The TAKE with Rick Klein
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You could say the facade fell away this week. But that would presume that it was ever in place.
The truth is that no book is needed to reveal that this White House is a chaotic, haphazard operation.
But Michael Wolff’s reporting and its fallout have confirmed some fundamental truths about President Donald Trump’s Washington that won’t change with the turn to 2018.
The chaos is not so much strategy as it is fixed reality. The president has succeeded in making his presidency a national reality show, where distractions are often the main actions.
Loyalty in the Trump White House has severe limits. Steve Bannon has managed to ice himself out, with the White House accusing him of spinning lies and worse. But he could be back in the president’s orbit with a tweet or a phone call.
One upshot of the Bannon break-up, as we enter a period where serious governing decisions must be made: Bannon’s fall from favor is being cheered by the Republican governing establishment.
Trump may stray from his base, and Bannon and others could call him out on that. But Trump starts the new year with an uncommon phase of unity inside his party, and even the opportunity for bipartisanship that Bannon might have prohibited.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
With the blizzard of political gossip this week, it would have been easy to miss Trump’s cabinet also making waves in the last few days.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement freeing U.S. attorneys to enforce federal marijuana laws as they choose– even in states that have decriminalized the drug’s use– sent shivers through sunny California. The Golden State’s new law permitting recreational pot went into effect the first of the year. Though plenty of experts said the new Department of Justice decree would likely not change day-to-day practices, Colorado’s Republican Senator Cory Gardner was so upset by the news he promised to hold up future Sessions appointments.
Republicans, after all, are used to promoting stronger states’ rights when it comes to social issues.
“I’m a states person,” then-candidate Trump told a reporter in the summer of 2016 when asked about new local laws allowing for the sale and use of recreational marijuana. “I think it should be up to the states. Absolutely.”
And what about states’ rights…