Members of President Trump’s administration hold their leader dear, President Trump said yesterday.
In an interview published Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal, the president was asked about how the Justice Department was handling leaks from anonymous sources in the White House and intelligence agencies. The president said that he hoped Attorney General Jeff Sessions would “go after the leakers in intelligence.”
The president said that when forced to choose, he would prefer positive leaks.
“I don’t mean the White House stuff where they’re fighting over who loves me the most, OK?” Trump said. “It’s just stupid people doing that.”
The WSJ reported that there was laughter in the room. It is unclear what kind of laughter it was.
Despite Trump’s lighthearted mood, it has been widely reported that the president’s inner circle has been suffused with serious, unprecedented infighting, with various factions competing for alliances and the president’s ear. And stories have been published with up to 30 anonymous sources coming from the White House, intelligence community and the president’s general orbit.
In terms of presidential endearment, the WSJ report comes after two incidents in which Trump Cabinet lunch effusively — and, some said, disturbingly — proclaimed their allegiance and gratitude to the president. During a Cabinet lunch on June 12, the individual secretaries went around the room, thanking the president in front of TV cameras. (One thanked him for the “blessing” to serve.) Last weekend, Vice President Mike Pence penned a mash note to the president on Fox News’s website. “President Trump’s accomplishments are nothing short of historic,” Pence wrote. “But as the president likes to say, at this White House that’s just what we call a good start.”
And newly arrived communications director Anthony Scaramucci professed “love” for the president multiple times during his debut speech last week. Scaramucci has vowed to end leaks, even if he has to “fire everybody.” He later walked back that comment, saying he had no plans for firings “at least for now.”
Among the American public, Trump’s approval rating continues to languish — 37%, according to the latest Gallup poll.