What a great laugh we had! Nevertheless, the incredible days with Anthony “the Mooch” Scaramucci are over. Now John Kelly is supposed to bring order and discipline to the White House. Should he succeed, the situation would be serious.
We could laugh our heads off, if the matter were not so serious. In the past few weeks, observing U.S. politics has been more entertaining than ever. The news from the White House has long surpassed any possible parody. However, Scaramucci, the president’s arrogant apologist, gave a new impetus to the already stormy Trump administration.
These 10 days with him were crazy, a wild ride that began with the first kiss he blew to the assembled reporters after his appointment and with his oily displays of love for the president and his family. Then we witnessed the refreshingly vulgar pejoratives he bestowed on his in-house adversaries during a phone call with journalists from The New Yorker. The pictures of the dynamic communicator that were constantly reminiscent of mafia movies. His suits, perfectly fitting and therefore giving the impression of severely lacking seriousness. His not really covert dinner with Trump for which he skipped his child’s birth. His childish pride while being on board Air Force One. And lastly, his tweet: “Pure Pain.”
If Nothing Else, We Will Now Have Cinema Instead of Trash TV
Unfortunately, we are now rid of “the Mooch,” the man who caused more communication disasters in his few days on the world stage than probably anyone before him in such a short time. It is doubtful that anyone will top Scaramucci’s performance.
After his surprising firing, once we have dried the tears that we shed while laughing, the matter could become serious, though. The new Chief of Staff John Kelly, formerly head of the Department of Homeland Security in Trump’s cabinet, is supposed to transform the chaos in the West Wing into order and professionalism. Thus far, Trump’s people have constantly reminded us of American TV series, of bad actors reading from a cheap and hastily put-together script. Now we are witnessing a change of genre. We are seeing the introduction of the stereotypical career military officer we know from several American movies, from “Top Gun” to “Scent of a Woman,” an honorable patriot through and through, whose strict gaze demands obedience and discipline. If nothing else, it is cinema instead of trash TV. One would like to say that it constitutes progress after all.
Perhaps some calm will truly return to the White House, perhaps Kelly will succeed where everyone else has thus far failed. Maybe he will manage to get the impulsive choices of his boss Trump under control and redirect his actions towards the path of rationality. That would actually be good news for the U.S. and the world, right?
In a sense, yes. If the U.S. government behaved more predictably than it has to date, then its still so-called allies would be reassured. Even all those who follow Trump’s Twitter feed would no longer have to fear that the president might suddenly announce a military attack against North Korea via tweet. Then we could hope that the four years of his government will pass us by without catastrophes.
External Calm Would Only Be a Façade
Unfortunately, this hope is more likely to be unfounded. Even if Kelly succeeded at making Trump’s governmental activity more professional, the external calm would only be a façade. Behind it, we would have the same man who had the idea of elevating a gutter macho man like Scaramucci to an important office, not to mention all the other twits with whom he has surrounded himself. Kelly can improve Trump’s image, but he will not change him.
More discipline at the White House conceals actual dangers. Thus far, Trump has not honored even one of his terrifying election promises. He has failed at implementing all his plans, partly because all efforts in that direction were clumsy. Sure, Trump’s administration is repulsively vulgar, xenophobic, nationalistic and reactionary. Since it barely ever managed to carry its plans through though, it remained relatively harmless. The world that had been shocked by Trump’s victory in November was able to breathe a sigh of relief. After fear, came the realization that he cannot get anything done.
That could soon change. And that would be no laughing matter.