A growing number of aides to President Donald Trump say privately that he is too often unfocused and acts unhinged. Many also now feel he is a puppet to an even more dangerous master.
Trump, they say, “bellows like a madman” when confronted with information he doesn’t like or when he feels the a level of adoration is insignificant.
“We walk on eggshells,” one aide says. “The slightest little thing can set him off.”
Trump, they say, spends much of his time in the White House alone, watching hours of cable television news shows, sending out angry tweets on Twitter or screaming loudly for someone to tend to an often minor need.
Often, Trump retreats upstairs pretty much alone in the White House, his Secret Service detail nearby but out of site. Often, in an overflowing bathrobe encompassing his expanding girth, he sits and talks with longtime aide and former security chief, Keith Schiller, while composing some of his angry Twitter barages.
“He’s not a man I would want to spend any time with,” says a aide who says that, thankfully, has few encounters with the President. “When I do encounter him, he is boorish and angry.”
Those close to Trump report late night phone calls from a President who rambles and complaints that people don’t understand him. He follows those complaints with promises of harsh retaliation to all who he feels fails to recognize his self-perceived “greatness.”
“In so many ways, he’s a pitiful little man,” says a former employee who worked with Trump in New York.
Reports Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times:
President Trump loves to set the day’s narrative at dawn, but the deeper story of his White House is best told at night.
Aides confer in the dark because they cannot figure out how to operate the light switches in the cabinet room. Visitors conclude their meetings and then wander around, testing doorknobs until finding one that leads to an exit. In a darkened, mostly empty West Wing, Mr. Trump’s provocative chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, finishes another 16-hour day planning new lines of attack.
Usually around 6:30 p.m., or sometimes later, Mr. Trump retires upstairs to the residence to recharge, vent and intermittently use Twitter. With his wife, Melania, and young son, Barron, staying in New York, he is almost always by himself, sometimes in the protective presence of his imposing longtime aide and former security chief, Keith Schiller. When Mr. Trump is not watching television in his bathrobe or on his phone reaching out to old campaign hands and advisers, he will sometimes set off to explore the unfamiliar surroundings of his new home.
Other aides say Trump always wants “superlative phrases” used to describe his actions and insists on words that describe anything he does as “great” or “record setting” or the like, even if such phrases are wrong.
“In the President’s world, everything he does is ‘great’ and ‘stupendous’ and woe be onto them that questions,” says an aide. “More people than you know walked away from him during the campaign because they could not support his hyperbole. The same is happening in the West Wing.”
Collectively, those willing to talk — always off the record — provide a close view of an unstable, mentally-challenged man who has managed to become President of the United States.
They say too much of Trump’s actions are controlled by the manipulating mind of strategist Stephan Bannon, former CEO of Breitbart and self-declared “white nationalist.” Bannon, they say, knows how to stroke Trump’s massive ego to control his actions.
“Bannon is the real threat to America,” says one White House aide. “Trump is his puppet, a loud, angry puppet to be sure but still a puppet whose strings are pulled by an even greater threat.”
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