White House staffers who initially planned to leave their jobs after the midterm elections are considering getting out sooner because of President Donald Trump’s performance during a press conference with Vladimir Putin Monday, and his fumbled attempts to clean up his remarks ever since.
According to Politico, morale hasn’t been this low in the White House since Trump blamed “both sides” for violence following the attack of counter-protesters at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year.
“People are just depressed,” a Republican close to the White House told Politico. “Nobody wants to take on the public heat of resigning right now, but there are a bunch of people who were thinking maybe they’d leave after the midterms who are very seriously starting to consider accelerating their timetable.”
While staffers may reportedly be eying the exits over Trump’s discombobulated messaging on Russian interference in the 2016 election, senior officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton don’t plan to resign because his comments won’t have any concrete impact on policy, Politico reported.
While in Helsinki this week, Trump stood beside Putin and publicly supported the Kremlin chief’s denial of meddling in U.S. elections in 2016, despite declarations to the contrary from his own intelligence agency. Trump made a rare retraction on Tuesday, at the behest of top officials like Vice President Mike Pence and Chief of Staff John Kelly, and told reporters that he misspoke during the presser.
Then, on Wednesday, he appeared to break with his intelligence community’s assessment that Russia is still actively targeting the U.S., but press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cleaned up that mess for him, telling reporters that Trump’s “no” was an indication that he didn’t want to take any more press questions, not that he didn’t think the U.S. was under attack.
Read Politico’s full piece here.