The White House in chaos

Dhaka,  Fri,  22 September 2017
Published : 02 Aug 2017, 20:45:43
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The White House in chaos

Mohammad Amjad Hossain
The White House is in chaos and disarray under the presidency of Donald Trump. During his 16-month presidency, he has been facing crisis after crisis in running his administration and has become a laughing stock around the world. 

Director of Communications Anthony Scaramucci and Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned. Scaramucci was a long-time Wall Street financier, who once threatened to dismiss anybody disclosing secrets of the White House to the news media. Trump, time and again, has spoken of leakage of information but could not identify persons divulging information to the press, as of now. Incidentally, Scaramucci was divorced by his wife when he joined the White House.  He was followed by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. It is interesting to note that Priebus had defended presidential candidate Donald Trump against the demand of Republican lawmakers to drop him from contesting the election while he was serving as Chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2016. Now he has become a victim of the President's whims. Trump declared on July 29 to appoint retired General John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security, as his Chief of Staff. He took over responsibility on July 31 to set the White House in order. 

Strong criticism is raging against Trump for appointing members of his family in the White House as his advisors. Jared Kushner blamed oversights for his failure to disclose 100 meetings with foreign nationals during his security clearance. His daughter Ivanka Trump is also under criticism when she took seat of her father in a discussion session of G-20 summit in Hamburg of Germany. There is a demand that security clearance should be withdrawn from Jared Kushner and Ivanka. Never before had in the history of America, family members of a president became part of the administration. 

President Donald Trump began criticising his Attorney General Jeff Sessions for rescuing himself from investigation of the Russian involvement in the US polls. The President called him a 'beleaguered and weak person.' Repeatedly, Trump did not spare the Deputy Attorney General either for appointing Robert Muller as special counsel to conduct the investigation. He is now targeting him for dismissal. He talked about firing Muller in interviews while his team of lawyers is in search to dig dirt on the special prosecutor. Therefore, Democrat Senator Cory Booker and Republican Senator Lindsay Graham are working on a bipartisan bill that would prevent Robert Muller from being fired without a judicial review. A post-Watergate law was in place until 1990 when both Republican and Democrat lawmakers teamed up to let the independent counsel statute expire. Therefore, a new law has become imperative in view of erratic behaviour of President Trump to save independent counsel Robert Muller from embarrassment. 

A rumour is being circulated in Washington that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is likely to resign soon as he remains handicapped with shortage of manpower in the State Department, apart from diametrically different policy relating to blockade of the State of Qatar by some Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia. Instead of supporting action by Saudi Arabia, the Secretary of State had been to the Gulf countries, including Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE to bring about reconciliation to withdraw blockade against Qatar. The Gulf state is a close ally of the United States in the region hosting the largest concentration of US military personnel at its Al Udeid Air base. 

Recently revealed story is that Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the President, in collusion with newly-appointed Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, is behind the drama. The Intercept's Ben Walsh, Ryan Grim and Clayton reported that Jared Kushner sold his stake in 666 Fifth Avenue in New York at the beginning of 2015 but Kushner and his father Charles negotiated directly with former Prime Minister of Qatar-turned-billionaire investor Sheikh Hamad bin Jassin al-Thani to refinance the property. Qatari investor Sheikh Hamad agreed to invest at least $ 500 million on condition that Kushner could secure additional refinancing from outside. Incidentally, An Bang, a Chinese insurance company agreed to refinance the property, but pulled out in the wake of deepening conflict of interest. Therefore, the investor from Qatar also backed out before presidential election. This issue worked against the government of Qatar. 

As reported in the media, President Trump is fed up with the Secretary of State over his position on Iran as he has failed to make out a case that Iran is not upholding its part of the nuclear deal.  According to Foreign Policy magazine, Trump has created a White House panel charged with making the case against Iran. The Secretary of State is unhappy over frequent interference by the President. He is now taking 'a little time off this week', according to the State Department.

Meanwhile, Jared Kushner was in closed-door sessions with Senate and House Intelligence Committees about his encounter last year with the Russian ambassador and the lobbyists. In a statement to the media, Kushner dismissed any wrongdoing in the meetings and said he did not collude with Russia. Similarly, President's son Trump Junior and Paul Manafort, former Chairman of Donald Trump's election campaign, also appeared in closed-door sessions with the Senate Intelligence Committee. 

The lowest approval rating of the President, stalled legislative agenda, including repeated failure to cancel President Obama's signature project 'affordable healthcare' law and escalating investigation into Russia's meddling in presidential election in the United States cast a pall of gloom on the Trump administration. 

The writer is a retired diplomat  from Bangladesh. 

amjad.21@gmail.com




 
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