President Donald Trump is increasingly acting on his own impulses, rather than in accordance with any strategic plan or the advice of his top aides.
President Donald Trump is increasingly acting on his own impulses, rather than in accordance with any strategic plan or the advice of his top aides, according to a Thursday Washington Post report.
The president has been consumed by foreign policy concerns, including possible US military action in response to the Syrian government's recent alleged chemical weapons attack, an ongoing trade war with China, and the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.
And administration officials and aides are constantly scrambling to respond to his unpredictable announcements.
"It's just like everybody wakes up every morning and does whatever is right in front of them," one West Wing aide told The Post. "Oh, my God, Trump Tower is on fire. Oh, my God, they raided Michael Cohen’s office. Oh, my God, we're going to bomb Syria. Whatever is there is what people respond to, and there is no proactive strategic thinking."
Top White House officials were reportedly caught off guard by Trump's tweets about Syria (in which he warned that missiles "will be coming" to Syria), which one senior official called "alarming" and "distracting."
The Post report, informed by interviews with 21 administration officials, external advisers, lawmakers, and confidants (mostly anonymous), paints a picture of a White House with little strategic plan or organization and few controls on the president's behavior.
The president was particularly infuriated by Monday's FBI raids of his personal attorney and confidant Michael Cohen's home, office, and hotel room and reportedly yelled for several hours on Monday about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who approved the raids, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Trump has spent the days since weighing whether to fire Rosenstein, and aides say they are uncertain about what the president might do next and are instead preparing to justify any action he might take.