Trump stokes fears of how he’d handle real crisis

Q1405

So, what if there’s a real crisis?

A real war — not a war with the media, or James Comey. A real showdown — not a political showdown. A real surprise that’s out of the White House’s control — not a situation of President Donald Trump’s own making that spins out of control because the president and his inner circle sprung a decision on an unprepared staff. But what if there’s a real crisis?

Something, and likely more than one thing, is inevitable, because he’s the leader of the country and the free world, and something always does. And Trump’s behavior, chaotic management style and carefree careening through too many versions of what happened this week for any of them to have credibility has people throughout politics and national security terrified.

For all that’s happened in the 114 days of the Trump administration, nothing major has gone wrong, foreign or domestic. The president and his staff have scrapped through explosions of their own making, Twitter meltdowns included. But they don’t stack up to the BP oil spill, or the Sept. 11 attacks, or Katrina, or the Branch Davidians, or an Ebola outbreak, or an embassy bombing, or a hostage situation, or a combative nuclear test.

“This is another taste of reality in the White House — you have to walk, chew gum, juggle, sit down and stand up all at the same time. And right now, there is a lot going on in the world and there’s a lot going on in the White House,” said Andy Card, who was George W. Bush’s chief of staff on Sept. 11 and for years afterward. “I’m a little frustrated that people tend to be putting more balls in the air than people can catch.”

Though there are those in the West Wing focused on their jobs, Card said, the issue for everyone becomes: “Is it more important to focus on the center ring of a three-ring circus than to pay attention to a ring slightly to the left or right?”

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