From his Twitter feed to his dinner guests (Ted Nugent, Kid Rock and Sarah Palin — all in one night!), the Trump White House has looked, and run, like nothing we’ve ever seen before.
But, even by Trump’s standards, the last 24 hours has been surreal. In fact, the last day feels more like a reality TV show — storyline twists and turns, surprise guest appearances — than it does anything resembling a semi-normal day in political Washington.
Let’s start with the present moment and then rewind.
The White House press pool was called into the Oval Office just before noon eastern time for what they expected to be a photo op between Trump and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov since the two men were scheduled to huddle earlier today.
But it wasn’t Lavrov they found sitting with the president! It was Henry Kissinger, best known for his role as Secretary of State to President Richard Nixon!
Reporters asked Trump about the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Trump responded, briefly, that Comey was simply “not doing a good job.” It was apparently lost on Trump that the last 16 hours had been dominated by comparisons between Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” — where he jettisoned the independent counsel investigating Watergate — and Trump’s decision to part ways with Comey. Either that or Trump was pulling the greatest troll move ever by having Kissinger there when he took his first questions from reporters about the Comey firing. (I’m not ready to rule that option out.)
Speaking of Lavrov, he didn’t make the Kissinger photo op but that doesn’t mean we didn’t see him. Shortly after the meeting with Trump, the Russian news agency TASS put out a series of pictures of the gathering. But, wait! There was a special guest with them. This guy:
Then, finally, go back to 6 p.m. ET last night when Trump shocked the world — and, apparently, much of his administration and Congress — when he jettisoned Comey with a letter hand-delivered to the FBI by his former bodyguard. (That sentence, in and of itself, is surreal.) The letter, which was four short paragraphs, included this amazing line: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”
If Aaron Sorkin had written a “West Wing” episode with this many twists and turns, misdirections and shocking surprises, everyone in the writer’s room would have rolled their eyes. Except this isn’t a drama; it’s real life. Or maybe reality life.
Welcome to the Trump White House.