There’s a new band in town that’s guiding national security by quietly tutoring the most powerful man in America. Never-Trump Republicans who’d been apprehensive about President Donald Trump are celebrating the trio’s influence, calling Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Homeland Secretary John Kelly the “Axis of Adults.” …None of these key national security chiefs were part of the Trump campaign, or movement. They are seen by those who work most closely with them as loyal to the office of the president but still getting to know the man himself, said a senior administration official, speaking anonymously to describe the interactions just 11 weeks in to the fledgling presidency.“They realize this is a tumultuous White House, and they are serving as a leveling influence over fractious personalities … responsibly protecting the country from enemies both foreign and domestic,” the official said, lumping Trump campaign veterans like embattled adviser Steve Bannon into the “domestic” enemy camp. Bannon’s removal from the official NSC roster by H.R. McMaster is seen as a sign the “adults” are winning.
Hitting a baseball, one thrown by a professional pitcher, is among the most difficult athletic endeavors in the spectrum of all of sport. Jordan and Tebow have demonstrated just how difficult it is to acquire such skill even for elite athletes. There is no substitute for time or reps in mastering this craft. There are no short cuts.
Kushner was drawn into the campaign, and the administration, by degrees — “drafted into this crazy journey,” he has been heard to say. More than anything it’s a reflection of how few people there were to do anything in the campaign’s early days. At one point during the campaign, when Trump wanted to speak more substantively about China, he gave Kushner a summary of his views and then asked him to do some research. Kushner simply went on Amazon, where he was struck by the title of one book, Death by China, co-authored by Peter Navarro. He cold-called Navarro, a well-known trade-deficit hawk, who agreed to join the team as an economic adviser. (When he joined, Navarro was in fact the campaign’s only economic adviser.) Kushner operated in much the same way when it came to crafting Trump’s tax plan — calling up someone for help out of the blue. Given the initial absence of pros who could do the job properly, he also tried his hand at writing speeches. Responding to criticism from the boss (“Jared, this is terrible!”), Kushner said, according to a person familiar with the episode, “I’m not a f—ing speechwriter. I am a real estate guy.”