President Trump and the Baby-Sitters Clubby E. Williamson of The New York TimesAUG. 26, 2017
Why does Mr. Trumpâ€™s team treat him like a kid?
He is the president of the United States and, as he says, â€śyouâ€™re not.â€ť
He lives in the White House, where he gets two scoops of ice cream instead of one for dessert. He is commander in chief, eating
â€śthe most beautiful piece of chocolate cakeâ€ť with the Chinese president while he fires missiles at Syria. As he told the Russians,
â€śpeople brief me on great intel every day,â€ť with
lots of pictures and â€śtweet-length sentences.â€ť
Mr. Trumpâ€™s staff makes sure he starts his day with a packet of good news about himself,
compiled by Republicans who get up early to search for positive stories, headlines, tweets or, failing those, flattering photos. â€śMaybe itâ€™s good for the country that the president is in a good mood in the morning,â€ť one of the Republicans said.
Mr. Trump likes â€śunstructured timeâ€ť to watch TV. His favorite station is Fox News Channel but heâ€™ll watch any show where they talk about him. If they say something bad about him, he tweets. That makes everyone nervous. His staffers try to limit his screen time
during the day and keep him
from â€ścalling old friends and then tweeting about it.â€ť But then itâ€™s off to bed with his phone, and â€śonce he goes upstairs, thereâ€™s no managing him
.â€ť Uh-oh! Mr. Trump says being president is harder than being a real estate tycoon, because, â€śThese are heavy decisions,â€ť and when youâ€™re the president, â€śpeople want more and more.â€ť They also try to stop you from doing things you want to do. Boo!
Failing to pass any big legislation, tangling with the courts on his executive orders, and worrying about the F.B.I. investigation into his teamâ€™s contacts with Russia makes Mr. Trump grouchy
. He screams at the television, at staffers, and at Republican legislators,
demanding that somebody make it stop. But when Mr. Trumpâ€™s advisers tell him what he might do, he likes doing the opposite
â€” like when he fired James Comey, the director of the F.B.I., or stared at the solar eclipse. After he blurted out secrets to Russian officials in the Oval Office, his team worried about â€śleaving him alone in meetings with foreign leaders.â€ť H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser, tries to correct the president and keep him out of trouble. The president calls General McMaster â€śa pain.â€ť
When Mr. Trump has one of those â€śmoods where sometimes he wants to blow everything up,â€ť his staff takes him outside. He sat in
an 18-wheeler in the White House driveway one time. â€śHonk, honk!â€ť went the horn. He sat in
a red fire truck, too. â€śWhereâ€™s the fire?â€ť Mr. Trump asked
Vice President Mike Pence. â€śPut it out fast!â€ť Mr. Trump went to Saudi Arabia, where they gave him
steak and ketchup and put his photo on the side of a building. But most of all Mr. Trump likes when his staff plans field trips to rallies in red states, where he can campaign for president again.
Those rallies are fun, but back at the White House, nothing gets done and the presidentâ€™s worn-out minders are warring among themselves. So they got John Kelly to be the White House chief of staff and enforce new house rules. Mr. Kelly makes sure the Oval Office door stays closed, keeping the president inside and the staff and random buddies out. No more visiting Mr. Trump without an appointment â€” that means you, too, Ivanka! No more back-stabbing. No more slipping the president goofy website stories
that he confuses with facts. No more secretive executive orders, and no official phone calls without Mr. Kelly on the line. No more impromptu events. No more Mooch. And no more Bannon. But Mr. Trump keeps getting into trouble. He says the wrong things about neo-Nazis, and threatens
to shut down the government unless Congress gives him money for the border wall that he said Mexico would pay for. He is bullying his allies
and stomping all over his agenda. And, oh, does he tweet and yell.
Mr. Kelly is a tough guy. He was a general in the Marine Corps and commanded American troops in Iraq. He has gotten the White House staff under control, but not the president. A few days ago, he said he wouldnâ€™t even try. Uh-oh!