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Haha, Kellyanne believed us!

Politico brings us yet another story of INTERNAL CHAOS in the Trump administration, this time all about the communication team’s sense that, with Trump’s 100th day in office coming up on April 29, the White House needs to straighten up and fly right, ideally to drop lots of munitions on Syria. The piece suggests that, with that 100-day coverage on the way, it’s unlikely Trump is likely to make any big changes in staffing, because he’s media-savvy enough to know that’s all the cable news talking heads would be talking about. That’s cute, since it assumes Trump ever gives any thought to how the media will cover much of anything he says or does. Still, everybody in Trumpland seems to be pretty tense with that mile marker on the way:

“One hundred days is the marker, and we’ve got essentially two-and-a-half weeks to turn everything around,” said one White House official. “This is going to be a monumental task.”

Our favorite part of the story was this anecdote about a meeting last week attended by more than 30 Trump staffers in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, based on accounts by “a half-dozen attendees who described the Tuesday meeting.” Yup, roughly a fifth of the attendees talked to Politico, demonstrating once again this administration leaks worse than a cooler full of cyanide-laced Flavor-Aid. The meeting, led by communications director Mike Dubke and his deputy, whose name is — we shit you not — Jessica Ditto (talk about “I was born to do this!”), kicked off with Dubke emphasizing the need to package the first hundred days with some exciting “rebranding” aimed at getting the administration back on track.

“I think the president’s head would explode if he heard that,” one of the White House officials present said.

Not sure if the explosion trigger was the bit about rebranding or the bit about getting back on track; maybe both, since Donald Trump himself is apparently convinced his presidency is off to the best start of any administration in history.

The rest of the meeting sounds like everybody’s worst nightmare of a corporate team-building retreat:

Staffers, including counselor Kellyanne Conway, were broken into three groups, complete with whiteboards, markers and giant butcher-block-type paper to brainstorm lists of early successes. One group worked in the hallway.

“It made me feel like I was back in 5th grade,” complained another White House aide who was there. “That’s the best way I could describe it.”

We’re not sure why these highly skilled people from business and government don’t seem to know anything about corporate retreats. Guess that staffer didn’t learn anything about working as a team from sharing common stereotypes, playing Two Truths and a Lie, or that “web of connections” thing where everybody sits in a circle and passes a ball of yarn to each other while saying “I appreciate you for…” Bet the group sauna didn’t break down their barriers, either.

Dubke, who wasn’t on the campaign and joined the White House team after the inauguration, also raised some eyebrows when he said one of the tougher parts of messaging would involve foreign policy, because the Trump administration doesn’t actually have one.

“There is no Trump doctrine,” Dubke declared.

Some in the room were stunned by the remark.

“It rubbed people the wrong way because on the campaign we were pretty clear about what he wanted to do,” said a third White House official in the room, “He was elected on a vision of America First. America First is the Trump doctrine.”

One of the administration officials lamented, “We’ve got a comms team supposedly articulating the president’s message [that] does not appear to understand the president’s message.”

Sounds like somebody needs to do another Trust Fall!

Poor Mike Dubke was very, very unhappy when Politico asked him for comment, because what kind of team tells tales out of school?

“It was a brainstorming session and I really wish they had spoken up in the room so that we could have had an open and honest conversation,” he said. “It is unproductive adjudicating internal discussions through the media.”

Sometimes, too much communication can be as big a problem as too little, huh?

We’d like to believe that at that very moment, Jessica Ditto came on the line to say “You said it, boss!”

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[Politico]

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