Two months into President Donald Trump's administration, staffers point to Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, as a person to shoulder the blame for the rough start. Over a dozen Trump aides and allies told Politico that Priebus was becoming the exclusive source of mishap in the West Wing.
Staffers describe Priebus as omnipresent, who forces himself in meetings, even the small ones he does not need to attend. From Politico's Alex Isenstadt and Josh Dawsey:
They described a micro-manager who sprints from one West Wing meeting to another, inserting himself into conversations big and small and leaving many staffers feeling as if he’s trying to block their access to Trump. They vented about his determination to fill the administration with his political allies. And they expressed alarm at what they say are directionless morning staff meetings Priebus oversees that could otherwise be used to rigorously set the day’s agenda and counterbalance the president’s own unpredictability.
Priebus is said to represent one of the two major power centers in the White House. A long-time GOP insider, Priebus has a working relationship with Republicans on the Hill and is close with Rep. Paul Ryan. But in the West Wing, the chief of staff seems to be competing with chief strategist Steve Bannon and top aide Stephen Miller, the architects of Trumpism, for influence over the president.
Bannon disputed the report when Politico asked for comment, saying that Priebus was doing a "great job."
But White House officials who spoke on a condition of anonymity say that Priebus is taking all the blame.
“There’s a real frustration among many — including from the president — that things aren’t going as smoothly as one had hoped,” said one senior administration official. “Reince, fairly or not, is likely to take the blame and take the fault for that.”
"It’s sheer incompetence,” said another White House official. “There’s a lack of management, and a lack of strategy."