In trying to confront the Press on what he regards as “very bad” reporting Thursday’s Press conference only made #Donald Trump’s life even more complicated. One effect was on the possible replacement of his former Senior Security Advisor #Michael Flynn.
This week saw the resignation of former four star general Michael Flynn who had been implicated in a scandal created by a series of leaks relating to his contacts with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s Ambassador to the United States. These leaks came in the background of the allegations of Russian interference in the presidential campaign won by #Donald Trump and further allegations of contacts by members of the Trump team with the Russians over the last eighteen months.
These allegations made the choice of Flynn’s replace particularly delicate as the new Advisor would not only be involved in the investigations of the allegations, but would be required to confront the obvious issues of distrust within the American intelligence community the government revealed by the sheer number of leaks. In fact, in recent weeks veteran Washington Post journalist Carl Bernstein stated that in his fifty years of career he never seen such a high level of leaks and particularly in the first weeks of an Administration.
Before yesterday’s press conference a name had been circulating to take the poisoned chalice, but within hours of a particularly relevant comment by President Trump the possible candidate withdrew from the race.
In the two days since Flynn’s resignation the name of the former deputy Commander of Central Command Admiral Robert Harward had been raised as his possible replacement. This changed after Donald Trump’s declaration about the leaks.
With his statement that the “leaks are absolutely real”, President Trump revealed the true depth of dissatisfaction within the country’s intelligence community. Shortly later Harward released a public announcement that due to “financial and family issues” he was unable to take up the position.
Although the Financial Times reports that the President is still trying to make him change his mind, a friend of Harward’s told CNN that the former Admiral referred to the position as a “s*** sandwich”. This comment leaves no doubt about the real reason Harward refused the nomination.
The matter of Flynn’s replacement is another side effect of yesterday’s press conference by Donald Trump. The President’s incapacity to directly address issues and to speak off the cuff regarding what he considers personal attacks continues to cause him problems in all fields of the new Administration.
This does not only gives us the prospect of wondering who will eventually take up the position as National Security Advisor and therefore potentially overseeing the investigations regarding the person who nominated him by the intelligence community.
The President’s behaviour and declarations also makes us wonder what will happen in the future when the President will be called upon to address more aggressive press conferences during his visits to other world leaders and how he will behave on those occasions.
Yesterday’s performance by President Trump does nothing to allay the fears that he is incapable to changing his behaviour and that does not bode well for the country’s image and prestige overseas in the near future. #Poisoned Chalice