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Increasingly antsy with Republicans, Trump’s likely to go rogue

After the exits of Anthony Scaramucci, Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus, those remaining will be wondering when they will be evicted from White House. They will doubtless remember that Trump found television celebrity with his words ‘You’re Fired’.

columns Updated: Aug 04, 2017 09:52 IST
Anthony Scaramucci,Sean Spicer,Reince Priebus

Only in these times of Trump could a tabloid have a feature about cullings at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In the past, the New York Post often had the 45th President of the United States within its covers, usually on Page 6, the gossip section about celebrity shenanigans. Those capers have migrated to the front page in a graphic representing administration honchos being kicked off the island as in a reality show.

This, then, is the season for Survivor: White House, with the latest oustee, left without a lifeboat, being Anthony Scaramucci, who within 10 days of becoming the communications chief cussed his way out the circle. Now a mere meme, he will go down as a memorable footnote of those booted out without having had enough time to tie their laces.

However, as he went out the door, Scaramucci may well have furthered Donald Trump’s agenda – cleaning the administration of establishment Republicans. Sean Spicer, the former press secretary, made his exit and then his former boss in the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus vacated the office of Chief of Staff.

This may just be Trump’s style of stocking up on loyalists after initially making some concessions to the mainstream of the party. Somewhat like the grouping of the Margdarshak Mandal of superannuated veterans that Prime Minister Narendra Modi used to clean house in New Delhi, Trump’s performing his sweeping changes.

Modi, however, has consolidated the party behind him, partly because the BJP knows he’s their most potent magnet for voters. Trump, though, isn’t as attractive to either his party or the American electorate, and that’s possibly why he faces resistance within the ranks, as evidenced by the attempt to repeal Obamacare being scuttled by three naysaying Republican Senators.

But watch this space: Increasingly antsy with the party, Trump’s likely to go rogue, asserting his independence, a tactic that worked for him in the 2016 elections. In fact, Trump usually reverts to his original positions, expressed vociferously during that campaign, like his contempt for the party he sought the nomination from. For those that still don’t get it, past statements presage future Trump moves.

The problem, of course, is in trying to go that route, his short fuse can blow up even in the face of original Trumpeteers – his rants about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the first Senator to have endorsed him last year, being the latest marker of that fragile temperament.

So, outside the immediate Trump family, those remaining will feel like contestants on another show, wondering when they will be evicted from Big Brother’s White House, or, in the Indian context, Big Boss’ boardroom. They will doubtless remember that Trump found television celebrity with his words “You’re Fired”.

But, if there’s a television show that’s most apt for this Trump tamasha, it’s House of Cards. And as the pack keeps getting shuffled, we will keep seeing fewer aces being dealt and more jokers at hand.

Anirudh Bhattacharyya is a Toronto-based commentator on American affairs. Follow him on Twitter @anirudhb

The views expressed are personal

First Published: Aug 04, 2017 09:36 IST