Trump’s April challenge: Leaning into the ‘deep state’ to quell a raging crisis

If Trump sends Americans back to work and allows companies to open their doors too early and the virus spreads further, it could prolong the Americans’ self-quarantine by weeks or even months. But if the economy stalls and millions of people lose their jobs and countless companies go bankrupt, Trump will have experienced an even deeper downturn that will destroy his prospects for reelection.

The question now is whether the competing factions in the White House can offer the President an analytical approach that can help him make important decisions. White House employees are already concerned about a messy chain of command – and the fact that important points or data are lost in a mess of communication when individuals or different teams pursue their different projects. This emerges from interviews with a dozen senior officials and Trump advisors and Republicans near the White House.

In the midst of the confusing environment, the White House’s new chief of staff, Mark Meadows, officially begins work on Monday. The White House chief of staff is on the move, and new Meadows employees are starting their positions as employees working with his predecessor Mick Mulvaney have moved from the west wing to offices in the adjacent Eisenhower Executive Office building.

Meadows “is going into a perfect storm right now,” said Chris Whipple, author of “The Gatekeepers: How the White House chiefs of staff define each presidency.”

“It’s almost a white house that should fail from day one,” said Whipple. “Now you have a crisis meeting with a president who went against the whole idea of ​​the government and who believes that the federal bureaucracy is a deep state to reach him. Now he has to be able to mobilize this deep state to save us all. “

In a statement, the White House press office dismissed the staffing considerations as a “palace intrigue.”

“President Trump and his entire government are focused on leading this government-wide response to slow the spread of COVID-19, expand testing capacity and accelerate vaccine development. The goal is for America to be healthy, successful and open for business again, and we are all working towards that, ”said Judd Deere, deputy spokesman for the White House.

Meadows recently tried to get involved in the government’s response by gathering information from its former Congress colleagues on what would be most helpful to their states, and then returning those contributions to the White House for the President and Task Force to recognize as Could use instructions. Trump’s new chief of staff traveled to the naval base in Norfolk, Virginia with the president and a small group of officials on Saturday, where Trump solemnly sent a hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, to New York Harbor.

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