Tags: trump | reagan | reince priebus | steve bannon | jared kushner

Trump's Troika Shaping the White House

Image: Trump's Troika Shaping the White House

(L-R) Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner, Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus raise their hands during the swearing-in of senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

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Thursday, 23 Feb 2017 09:59 AM Current | Bio | Archive

It looks like the Trump White House is resembling the early days of Reagan’s White House.

In 1981 the Gipper’s administration got off to a strong start as a powerful triumvirate of advisers backed up a new, transformational president.

You may recall those three aides as James Baker, Reagan’s chief of staff, Ed Meese, his special counselor, and Michael Deaver, his deputy chief of staff.

Today, we are seeing those same roles reprised by Trump’s own power circle.

Reince Priebus plays James Baker, the savvy insider, GOP establishment guy. Like Baker, he was relatively new to Reagan’s circle, but he was the man with polished credentials who could instantly translate goodwill between the California outsider and Beltway insiders.

Then there is Steve Bannon as Ed Meese, the ideological soul mate of Ronald Reagan. Trump’s conscience and populist fellow-traveler, Bannon is Meese’s reincarnation.

Completing the troika is Jared Kushner, the president’s alter ego. Kushner mirrors Michael Deaver’s position. A trusted, long-time friend of the Reagans, he gave the boss absolute loyalty. Reagan knew Deaver’s advice was always pure. This allowed him to deliver "bad news" that helped shaped key decisions.

Trump relies on this inner core of advisers. They are smart and intensely loyal to him. Kushner’s arrival at the White House was a turning point, giving the group a practical sensibility and ballast.

My IT staff uses the word "middleware" — computer programming that translates underlying software with different applications.

This White House troika is Trump’s middleware. They interpret the president’s unique programming for the outer ring of the administration and the public.

Acting as middleware here can be challenging. Trump has approaches he has honed over many decades that don’t always fit with a traditional presidency.

His style is intuitive and reactive. At times, he likes to shoot from the hip. He's authentic. He hates being scripted.

One adviser told me there have been instances when Trump’s staff will totally oppose his course of action, warning of some disastrous result. Trump’s ignores their advice and does it his own way. The results turn out to be incredibly successful and the staff is amazed.

Like any new administration there have been stumbles. It is important to remember Trump is the first non-politician and non-general ever to become president. He's on a learning curve.

But history shows he's an extremely fast learner. Consider that at age of 30 he showed up in Manhattan and was soon building the biggest buildings and hotels in the city.

At the age of about 50 he decided to go into television. His "Apprentice" show became a 14-year ratings hit. Practically nobody has a hit show for 14 years.

And then just two years ago Trump decides he will make a bid for president.

He runs, defeating 15 serious opponents in the Republican primary, including the Bush political machine.

He then goes on to decimate the Clinton machine after they spend over $1 billion in negative ads against him.

Clearly, the man is not to be underestimated.

Still, Trump’s troika has an important job to help Trump adjust to his new environment.

All his life Trump has played Trump. But he is no longer Donald Trump. He is the president of the United States, the leader of the free world.

This adjustment will be enabled by Trump’s A+ team of cabinet members, true, incredible heavyweights like Mattis, Tillerson, Mnuchin, and Ross.

As the Cabinet settles in, working with the troika, I think we’ll see a significant improvement in the messaging coming out of the White House.

We’ll also see a shift in focus, from fulfilling campaign promises to the "big stuff" — the budget, a sizable infrastructure program, and a massive tax reform program.

More than $3 trillion sits outside of the United States in corporate accounts that has yet to be repatriated. If Trump can do an early deal, getting companies to inject that money into the U.S. economy in the next 24 months, this will create an incredible economic boom.

This injection will be more than three times Obama’s 2009 stimulus.

To accomplish this and get congressional Republicans and some Democrats to back him on a repatriation plan, Trump needs to follow his populist instincts and become a more consensus-oriented president.

Trump has the ability to bring people together like few others. He is the only person I know who is a friend of both Billy Graham and Howard Stern.

Consensus building has been difficult because the media has been at total war against him.

He needs to avoid being baited by them and focus on his "Big Agenda" — as David Horowitz calls it in his blockbuster bestselling book by the same name. [I recommend "Big Agenda" — its revelations about Trump’s plans have been uncanny.]

Instead of being so confrontational with the press (as they have been toward him), Trump should ignore and bypass them. This is exactly what Reagan did by speaking directly to the American people.

I spoke yesterday with one of Britain's leading journalists. He said to me, "In everything Trump says there's a kernel of truth."

My friend pointed out that after Trump complained NATO members were not doing their fair share, Germany just decided to increase its troop levels.

"Trump did that!” he said, adding, “He's moving the needle like that all over the place."

He will keep moving that needle as long as he stays true to himself and his best instincts.

Christopher Ruddy is CEO of Newsmax Media, Inc., one of the country's leading conservative news outlets. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.

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It looks like the Trump White House is resembling the early days of Reagan’s White House.
trump, reagan, reince priebus, steve bannon, jared kushner
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2017-59-23
Thursday, 23 Feb 2017 09:59 AM
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