Sarah Huckabee Sanders; Donald Trump (Getty/Salon)

Perpetual scandals at the White House give Trump the perfect storm he needs

The White House is in a permanent state of chaos — and no one can take their eyes off it


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Charlie May
March 10, 2018 1:30PM (UTC)

From the moment press secretary Sean Spicer took to the White House podium to scold the press and lie to the public about the crowd size of President Donald Trump's inauguration, it was clear that the Trump White House was destined to be unlike any other.

Since then, successive White House press secretaries have tried their best to top the idea that "nothing could possibly get crazier than this." Only to prove everyone wrong in the end, with another insanely vacuous scandal or barrel of deliberately misleading truths.

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All of this was on display yet again in recent days as a result of the ongoing Stormy Daniels saga. The White House has seemed to completely avoid the truth, which has been the most honest thing one could say about this administration.

The current press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, acknowledged involvement between Trump and Daniels for the first time last week, admitting that Trump had won in arbitration proceedings about the nondisclosure agreement between the two. Sanders all but confirmed the allegations that the president engaged in an extramarital affair over a decade ago, and then attempted to silence Daniels with $130,000 days before he was elected.

It's a ludicrous story and could even prompt more legal complications for the president as the personal and undisclosed payment by Trump's attorney Michael Cohen to the porn actress could have violated campaign finance law.

The spectacle of "porn star sues president" is generating the attention it has been expected to generate — and more developments will likely make more headlines.

But there's an overlooked danger in this White House: Because the administration is a constant train wreck, it's very easy for important stories to slip through the cracks.

Trump's unwillingness to admit a slight misstep or wrongdoing in anything, even something as simple as a spelling error in a tweet, has set his White House up for failure, no matter how ardent his defenders.

It's nearly impossible to keep track of the various stories coming out of the administration, and he-said-she-said fights dominating headlines and have become the norm. The amount of stories Sanders has had to try to keep straight is baffling, and no matter how she performs — or anybody, for that matter — there's always the likelihood that Trump contradicts her only hours later with a single tweet.

The chaos is perpetual, while issues that are arguably far more pressing are often swept under the rug and forgotten about until it's too late.

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But down Pennsylvania Avenue, bipartisan lawmakers in the Senate have targeted Dodd-Frank only a decade after the legislation was put in place to help prevent another a global financial meltdown.

If that's not a story that should be on the front page of every newspaper in the country and unite the public across partisan lines to incentivize mobilization efforts to combat influential financial institutions, than it's a pretty clear indication that something in this country needs to change.

In the end, it's a win for the Trump administration. Because as the public watches the slow-motion car crash that is his presidency, the real consequences of it are already being felt in the form of a tax plan that transfers wealth from the bottom to the top, or in the form of the federal government taking legal action against states for enacting sanctuary laws. Or in other areas, such as a blatant neglect of climate change that's coupled with an aggressive deregulation agenda, or the expansion of endless American wars abroad.

All of those threats are alive and well, and many existed before Trump, and occur on a bipartisan basis. But Trump's presidency is so unhinged and uniquely threatening, it's become increasingly difficult to separate between what is a Trump phenomenon and what corrosion existed before his time, but paved the way for him.

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Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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