President Trump claimed Tuesday that “there is no chaos” in response to recent reports in The Washington Post and elsewhere of volatility in his White House. But the president also warned of future staff firings because he is “always seeking perfection.”
In a morning tweet, Trump wrote, “The new Fake News narrative is that there is CHAOS in the White House. Wrong! People will always come and go, and I want strong dialogue before making a final decision. I still have some people that I want to change (always seeking perfection). There is no Chaos, only great Energy!”
A few minutes later, Trump tweeted a response to Sunday's 90th Academy Awards, where many Hollywood stars made clear their opposition to his presidency.
“Lowest rated Oscars in HISTORY. Problem is, we don’t have Stars anymore — except your President (just kidding, of course)!" he tweeted.
This year 26.5 million people watched the Oscars on ABC, which were hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. That was a 20 percent drop from the 33 million who watched the awards show in 2017, Nielsen officials told the Associated Press.
Trump apparently was rebutting reports about his trade announcement last week of tariffs on steel and aluminum, which jolted financial markets and shocked many of his own aides because he had largely sidestepped the policy process. They say a general sense of tumult is enveloping the West Wing.
As The Post reported over the weekend, Trump's staffers and friends are increasingly concerned about the president and described him as uncontrollable, angry and isolated. They said Trump's moods have been dark and manifested themselves not only in the trade decision, but also in his zigzagging positions on gun control and his roiling feud with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Officials told The Post that Trump had been fuming in private at the White House scandals, and was especially frustrated with media coverage of the Russia investigation and of son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner's many controversies.
Last Saturday night, at the Gridiron dinner, Trump told a large audience of Washington officials and journalists that he prefers to manage by chaos.
“So many people have been leaving the White House,” Trump said. “It's actually been really exciting and invigorating. ... I like turnover. I like chaos. It really is good.”
He went on to make a joke about first lady Melania Trump and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller.
“Now the question everyone keeps asking is, 'Who's going to be the next to leave? Steve Miller or Melania?’ ” Trump said. Looking over at his wife, who was seated onstage, Trump said, “That is terrible, honey, but you love me, right? ... I won't tell you what she said. ... She said, 'Behave.’ ”
Trump's White House seems to be in a state of constant turnover. Last week, communications director Hope Hicks and deputy communications director Josh Raffel announced their resignations. Hicks is especially close to Trump and is one of the only aides known to help manage the president's moods.
Speculation has been rampant that national security adviser H.R. McMaster may soon depart, while chief of staff John F. Kelly's standing has been somewhat shaky over his handling of domestic abuse allegations against staff secretary Rob Porter, who left last month.