It was reported that three former military officials from the Obama administration filed a motion on Thursday, requesting a U.S. judge block the president's ban against transgender persons from serving in the military. This was after it was suggested that the secretary of defense James Mattis "suspended" the President's memorandum against trans people serving. When news about Mattis was reported, it was incorrectly reported that Mattis was resisting the president's agenda.

In fact, the media incorrectly reported that Mattis was either freezing or suspending the request.

For instance, USA Today originally reported in an article titled: "Mattis freezes transgender policy; allows troops to continue serving, pending study," which clearly refers to Mattis' response as a freeze.

This was corrected by an article published by Slate titled: "No, Mattis Did Not Freeze Trump’s Transgender Troops Ban." More specifically, the Slate article said that the memorandum sent to the Secretary of Defense actually directs Mattis to collaborate with the Secretary of Homeland Security and complete a study as to how transgender people service does or does not impact the military. The results of their study are due to be submitted by Feb 21 next year. But the ban is due to take place on March 28.

Growing distance between Trump and aides

The incorrect reporting does not mean that there isn't some sign of resistance among Trump's aides. Last month, it was reported that the President's new chief of staff John Kelly made further efforts to isolate the President. Kelly's efforts were to streamline the policy-making process whereby the president would only receive vetted information and vetted aides.

This new effort has indeed isolated the president and reportedly caused him to lash out at Kelly for restraining him. Other aides such as Gary Cohn and Rex Tillerson appear to have made their own independent comments separate from the president. Politico reported last week that both Cohn and Tillerson had triggered the President's anger privately but he hasn't lashed out at them which is in a contrast to how he generally responds.

It was reported last month that President Trump had privately been fuming about Gary Cohn, Trump's director of the National Economic Council, for criticizing his comments on the violence in Charlottesville. During the same weekend, his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson was asked about the president representing American values. His response was that the president spoke for himself. But many took this to mean that Trump's aides have distanced themselves from the president for his comments about the violent hate rally. Reports about Tillerson's response were that he seemed to specifically separate himself from the president. The Secretary of State said that he had already condemned hate groups during a speech he made at the State Department.

In public, President Trump said on Friday that Gen. John Kelly was doing a great job, likely indicating that he was aware of the reports that the president and his chief of staff were clashing. This would be another indication of the president restraining himself from lashing out too much against his aides. This is wise, as a report on September 2 by the Guardian pointed out that "Congress returns Tuesday to grapple with the debt limit, tax reform, government funding to avoid a shutdown, recovery efforts – and a hostile leader."

Trump 'soft' on obvious signs of insubordination

Many expected Trump to furiously respond to both Cohn and Tillerson's public lack of loyalty to the president, but he now appears to be restrained in attacking them.

In an article by Politico titled: "Trump unusually silent after aides challenge him," Rich Lowry of the conservative National Review said that Tillerson would have been fired by now for his comments. It was reported that Cohn had drafted a letter of resignation before he decided to throw it away and keep his position. Privately, Trump was said to be furious when he learned about it. But publicly, the White House put a more positive spin on Cohn's comments with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying that the White House expected Cohn to be outspoken.

Trump hits his 'fit throwing' limit

It would appear that the president is keeping especially quiet because, after hemorrhaging aides over the past month, the President needs people like Cohn, Tillerson, and Kelly more than ever.

In fact, the White House has served as a revolving door of aides going in and out over the first seven months of his presidency. By August, Kelly's appointment would purge those undesirables that the president relied on for his agenda, which stalled from the very beginning.

After his controversial comments about Charlottesville, councils that were made up of leaders from various companies fled from Trump, refusing to be associated with a president who is supportive of white supremacist hate groups. The Politico report was confident enough in referring to one anonymous adviser from the White House who said that the president needs his aides more than they need him.

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