President Donald Trump conceded for the first time that he had been thinking about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe into Russian interference in last year’s election when he fired its chief James Comey.Mr Trump’s comments run counter to the White House’s original account of why he decided to dismiss Mr Comey this week and are likely to fuel claims that he took the decision to stop the Russia probe.
Usually when one is faced with a difficult decision, like sacking someone, there is a significant period of consideration. One weighs up the arguments for and against and in relation to such a serious issue you might think to sleep on it before making your final decision.
President Trump does this but, as Eric Morcambe might have said, not necessarily in the right order. First sack him, then set out your reasons, then sleep on it, and then set out a different set of reasons.
It has always been clear President Trumps attention span is short. It is now also clear that a good nights sleep clears the slate clean and we start each day afresh.
New members of staff always have a honeymoon period. For junior members of staff it is to allow them to get used to their new role, find their feet, build their confidence. With more senior leadership roles the honeymoon period is not about these things. It is about recognising the very reason they have been put in the post is to make changes and they have to be given license to bring these changes about in their own way. You thus have to avoid rushing to judgement if they are doing things you think seem strange.
There is also a natural assumption that if someone has achieved high office they must be capable. Whether via executive selection or public election those that secure very senior posts have an aura of competence projected on to them by all those around them. This aura is strongly reinforced by the patronage, and ability to “terminate”, that goes with top jobs.
With President Trump all these forces are operating on steroids. People around the world are trying their best to knit a comprehensible strategy to his actions.
Some, probably genuinely, think his high office must mean there is something coherent at the centre of what he does. That his pronouncements are opaque to lesser mortals but are cleverly taking forward a well thought through agenda that will become clear in the fullness of time. The number of these is probably reducing every day.
There will be those whose jobs depend on the man. They will apply their, often considerable, intellect to “explain” what the rational thread is to his erratic, and, on the face of it, contradictory tweets. Hats off, they have got one hell of a job. One suspects however, as more and more of the twists and turns of the Trump mind become public, this task will drive them mad.
There are probably many who recognise President Trump is not the sharpest knife in the draw. That much of what he says is irrelevant. He may genuinely believe what he says when he says it, but tomorrow is a whole new day. They cling however to some hope that he is not as bad as his actions would suggest. That when push comes to shove he will do the right thing or rather not do anything really, really stupid. He couldn’t could he? After all he is the President of the United States.
There are also those who think that he just needs to be given a chance. That he needs more time to find his feet. He is adjusting from the dynamic, deal focused world of the private sector to the log jam, pork barrel world of politics and bureaucracy.
Given the position he holds one would like to believe that one of these views is correct, that in the fullness of time his mercurial pronouncements will reveal themselves as part of a sophisticated programme which is going to change the whole of the political system for good. This genuinely is the triumph of hope over experience.
Mr Trump crashed through his first 100 days like a learner driver with no control of the clutch. The Whitehouse has lurched from crisis to crisis, from scandal to scandal so quickly it has devalued the currency of both.
The man is a serious threat to the stability of the United States and consequently to the world. He should be seen as such. Those that ally themselves with him, do so at their peril. The wheels will come off this wagon and it might be soon. God knows what kind of a mess will result.