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Trump's America: White House Family Feud

In the Trump administration, vicious internal conflict is a management style.
Jared Kushner
Photo: Getty Images

Wild-Eyed Steve hates Swamp-Creature Reince. Swamp-Creature Reince hates Wild-Eyed Steve. And both of them positively loathe the Know-It-All Son-in-Law. Didn’t he used to be a Democrat…or maybe still is?

Yes, it’s Family Feud time at the White House. I hope you weren’t expecting that three-way peace parley to lay all the tensions to rest. These West Wing in-fighters are back-stabbing for their political lives!

Steve Bannon’s Alt-Righties, Reince Priebus’s GOP Traditionalists and Jared Kushner’s Blood Ties aren’t playing for Fast Cash and snazzy prizes this time. This isn’t some tribal TV game show.

At stake here is the future of the Free and Not-So-Free World. Too bad there’s no good-natured Steve Harvey to dab the bruised egos with humor and charm. This is Donald Trump’s White House, where vicious internal conflict isn’t just a side effect of power. It’s the point.

According to the frantic leaks from Washington and Palm Beach, Trump’s “creative conflict” is the managerial equivalent of dropping three poisonous snakes into a pit together then tossing in one live rat. It’s impossible to predict which snake will be eating lunch today, but you can be damn certain the reptiles won’t find a way to share.

If you’re picking likely winners and losers, here’s a tip: I wouldn’t bet against Jared or his wife, Ivanka, or anyone else on the Blood-Ties Team. In Donald Trump’s America, every day is Take Your Family to Work Day!

All signs say we should expect a White House shake-up any day now. Asked by Fox host Martha MacCallum if Wild-Eyed Steve and Swamp-Creature Reince are likely to stick around, counselor-to-the-president Kellyanne Conway delivered far less than a ringing endorsement. "I would assume so,” she shrugged. “That’s up to Donald Trump…I’ve heard nothing but rumors and innuendos and press reports.”

This is the very same spokeswoman, don’t forget, who declared that Michael Flynn, Trump’s Russia-hugging national security advisor, was totally secure in his job — about 10 minutes before he was shown the door for lying to Vice President Mike Pence.

Kellyanne has played this game before. She’s not making that mistake again.

Metro columnist Ellis Henican is a veteran journalist, a bestselling author and a frequent commentator on CNN and other TV networks. Follow him on Twitter @henican.

 

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