Jill: We can’t say we didn’t see it coming. Someone got forced out of the Trump administration, and it wasn't the communications director who unleashed an epic string of vulgar insults against the White House chief of staff that ended up in The New Yorker because the communications director didn't go off the record.
No, the banished one was the hapless chief of staff, Reince Priebus. All that's happened so far to the ranter, Anthony Scaramucci, is that his wife reportedly filed for divorce — news that broke right around the same time as the Priebus departure. Oh, and he didn't get to replace Priebus in the top job, as some speculation had it.
President Trump, who talks in such a proprietary way about “my generals,” turned to one of them — Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general — to be his new chief of staff. Maybe he thinks a general will be able to bring order out of chaos. That would be nice, but who'd put money on it?
Not me. Scaramucci reports to Trump, Trump reports to no one, and he is addicted to chaos. He shows us every day that he needs it, craves it, thrives on it. Circus, reality show, Shakespeare, Keystone Kops, call it anything you want except a presidency.
David: I think we'll look back on this week as the moment when the Conservative Republican phase of the Trump administration ended and the Manhattan populist phase began. With Attorney General Jeff Sessions looking wobblier by the day, there goes the Trump administration's strongest tie to Senate conservatives. With Priebus gone, Trump has severed his closest tie to Priebus' fellow Wisconsin Republican, House Speaker Paul Ryan.
And now we have Scaramucci on the rise, a fellow New Yorker of indeterminate ideology, and Kelly, a Marine general known more for a utilitarian point of view than partisan predilections.
That could mean one of two things. The first possibility is that in the wake of Trump's big moves, he'll be looking to show some wins. If Republican leaders in the House and the Senate can't deliver, his administration looks like it will be more and more interested in splitting the Republican Party and finding a way to work with Democrats.
Think of it like the political version of one of Trump's many bankruptcies. Temporarily he's going to act more cautious and seem more disciplined while abandoning some of what got him in trouble in the hopes that new bankers will come and bail him out. After this health care fiasco, the Democrats are the only ones with any political capital left.
The problem with that is that for the last year, everyone who bet Trump would turn a corner and wise up has lost his money and — more often than not — his reputation, too. Just ask Sean Spicer. I am afraid the far more likely scenario is that Trump continues his meltdown by firing Sessions and Independent Counsel Robert Mueller, as well. This weekend isn't over and Trump likes to make waves before the Sunday shows.
Jill: There appears to be no bottom to this pit. Friday began with Trump tweeting at 1:30 in the morning that he wanted to let Obamacare implode . That’s a law he is sworn to uphold, and the thousands or millions who would lose health insurance are citizens of the nation he is supposed to lead.
Later, speaking to law enforcement officials in New York, he repeated his health care implosion wish — and also made clear where he stands on roughing up suspects. When you're loading "thugs" into a paddy wagon, he told his audience of cops, don't worry about hitting their heads: "Please don't be too nice."
In his wildly inappropriate speech to 40,000 Boy Scouts, Trump got some of the boys to boo rival Democratic politicians. His riff to the cops about how they should behave drew laughter and applause. If we have any better angels of our nature left by the time this president and his crew are finally gone, it will be a miracle.
And that might be the least of it. While this administration wallows in a self-absorbed cycle of insults, betrayals, firings, lies, leaks and incompetence, North Korea is building nuclear capacity and on Friday launched a ballistic missile capable of hitting our cities. Somebody needs to be president. I just don't know who that will be.
David: You're right that meltdown is pretty much all he seems to be able to do. The problem, as if the meltdown itself isn't enough, is that no one — not his political allies, his rejected former friends, his enemies or even the geniuses at Fox News — really knows what he is capable of, how far past the guardrails of "normal" he will go.
Once a president is so far gone that he is publicly trashing his own attorney general, where does he go from there? And with a White House in disarray, a secretary of State taking time off and a secretary of Defense who doesn't get a heads up on military policy decisions, how long before our enemies take serious advantage of the chaos? Nobody even knows what will happen before breakfast tomorrow.