Needed: Hands and Nerves

Decades before Donald Trump vanquished Hillary Clinton, Pat Buchanan heralded the themes that would put Trump in the White House.  Yet despite all that lead time, Trump’s victory was still in one sense premature.  In the interval between Buchanan’s presidential bids in the 1990’s and Trump’s victory last November, the Republican Party paid little heed to calls for immigration control, economic nationalism, or an America First foreign policy.  As a result, today there are woefully few staffers from previous GOP administrations or key congressional offices who have both the experience in government and the dedication to his goals to make Trump’s agenda successful.

This brute fact accounts for the otherwise curious composition of the Trump White House for its first eight months.  The President chose the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, as his chief of staff.  Steve Bannon, a man with as little experience in government as Trump himself, was the President’s chief strategist.  Between them, Trump could draw upon both experience and philosophical commitment.  (Stephen Miller, a former staffer to Sen. Jeff Sessions, is a rare figure who combines both qualities as the President’s senior advisor for policy.)  The presence in the White House of Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, added something of the perspective...

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