Vice President Mike Pence is "very much a junior partner" in the emerging White House power structure, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Pence "showed his clout" with the Monday firing of Mike Flynn, for whom Pence went to bat in public based on erroneous information about Flynn's conversations with Russian officials, the Journal reported.
But he "also learned he remains very much a junior partner in the still-forming White House power structure," the Journal reported, noting President Donald Trump knew about Flynn's deceptions for two weeks without informing the vice president.
According to the Journal, the fact Pence was blindsided raises doubts about Trump's informal power-sharing arrangement among top advisers. That structure, the Journal reported, puts Trump at the center of a "spinning wheel" of former campaign advisers, family, confidants, and aides.
"If you look back at presidencies in start-up phases, you can fairly say that the Clinton administration got off to a chaotic start," Steve Schmidt, who worked in Republican President George W. Bush's administration, told the Journal.
"This is something entirely different. The ineptitude, the sloppiness, the incompetence and the chaos are unprecedented."
Also this week, Trump's nominee for labor secretary, Andy Puzder, was forced to withdraw his nomination from the Senate amid controversies, including decades-old allegations of spousal abuse.
"Process matters in governing," Ken Duberstein, a White House chief of staff under GOP President Ronald Reagan, told the Journal.
Though Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, by tradition, would control the people and paperwork the president sees, he is still "finding his place," the Journal reported.
The Journal reported Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has influence over everything from foreign policy to job creation and "may be the person in the West Wing the president trusts most," while chief strategist Steve Bannon "helped craft the president's populist identity and also has a hand in foreign policy through a new seat on the National Security Council."
Pence is the main point of contact for Republicans on Capitol Hill, and the Journal reported some Republicans hope Trump will further empower him since he is "close to the House GOP leaders who hold sway over Trump's legislative agenda."
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