Shortly before 5pm Eastern time yesterday, Air Force One touched down in Washington D.C. and President Trump took the opportunity to send out a series of tweets prior to deplaning. In under 500 characters, the president announced the end of Reince Priebus’ tenure as White House Chief of Staff and his replacement in General John Kelley, the now-former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Priebus then left the aircraft and, quite literally, rode off into the sunset before Trump emerged to greet the press.
This decision comes on the heels of a shocking interview on Thursday in which newly-appointed White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci voiced his desire to “kill all leakers” amidst a truly astonishing slew of profanity, and a tweet from the same suggesting that Priebus was among the alleged “leakers” of unclassified information about the internal workings of the White House. Scaramucci was apparently confident at that time that Priebus would be delivering his resignation shortly– which, according to sources close to the former Chief of Staff, occurred later the same day.
With the recent resignation of Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus– a three term Republican National Committee chair prior to joining the administration– was the last member of the Republican party establishment to hold a significant position in the Trump White House. (One could make the tangental argument that Sarah Huckabee Sanders qualifies, but her father’s political achievements hardly make her an adequate party liaison–to say nothing of her obvious lack of influence within the administration.) It appears that the significance of this is lost on President Trump, who seems to have given near carte-blanche firing authority to a relative political outsider in Scaramucci. In the same day the Republican Congress failed to pass the signature legislation of their party platform for seven years, the President severed the final tie to his own party’s establishment. While Trump appears quite content for the time being to run the executive branch in a manner that is… unconventional at best, he fails to realize that losing the support of his own party in the midst of an investigation into himself and his campaign would likely represent the death blow to his presidency. Similarly if the concept that party support for his presidency was already tenuous before several failed attempts at legislation, the Russian investigation, and an increasingly disturbing pattern of dangerous rhetoric crossed Trump’s mind before demanding or accepting Priebus’ resignation, it certainly is not apparent in his actions.
Thus, while many are warning that the Trump White House may be on the road to further chaos after losing what some saw as the final grip on sanity in the administration, that is not necessarily a bad thing. The fact for those of us who support a progressive agenda is that a representative of the Republican party platform in the White House does not represent any sort of saving grace, just a more-familiar evil. One of the most expedient and least destructive paths by which this administration is brought to justice is by the Republican party, in such a way that it is impossible (for anyone who subscribes to facts) to blame Democrats for playing partisan politics. Even if Mueller’s investigation continues through the 2018 election and the Democratic party is able to regain control of one or both houses of Congress, it would still be ideal to have bipartisan support in an impeachment attempt–whether it is procedurally necessary or not.
It is also very much worth noting that the tweet declaring Priebus’ removal came on the heels of Trump’s day trip to Long Island, where he delivered a speech to a group of police officers. In it, he encouraged the officers not to be “too nice” while performing arrests, giving full presidential permission to allow suspects to hit their head while entering a squad car or roll around unsecured in a paddy wagon (the same conditions resulting in the death of Freddie Gray). In a period of growing distrust between police forces and the communities they allege to serve, it is difficult to imagine a more harmful statement from the President of the United States. Worse, his remarks were met with significant applause.
Finally, in other daily news, investigators believe that the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launched by North Korea yesterday had the potential to easily reach Los Angeles, Denver, and Chicago, with outer-limit possibilities including New York City and Boston. The world as a whole has condemned this missile test, as it begins to suggest that Kim Jong-Un’s propaganda depicting the destruction of the West could soon have a basis in reality. As a result, the United States has requested an emergency, closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council, which will likely occur on Wednesday (August 2nd) and involve discussions about a potential response beyond the joint missile launch undertaken by the United States and South Korea yesterday afternoon.
It’s definitely an interesting time, folks. Stay tuned.
— This is the ALF, signing off.