Trump considers rearranging the seats at his table

On Friday morning, hours after a USA missile strike on a Syrian air base garnered bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill, news reports about the attack competed with the latest round of stories about internal divisions and speculation that Trump would shake up the top level of his administration.

This kind of backstabbing has become a regular occurrence in a White House where, as the Times' article put it, "officials jockey for the ear of the president, angle for authority and seek to place blame for political defeats". Who ultimately prevails in the ideological standoff between blocs led by Kushner and Bannon, his chief strategist, could determine the trajectory of Trump's term in the months or years ahead. The odds are that both Bannon and Priebus are on their way out. The new President Bannon, in other words, is President Kushner-and he got there, in part, by cleverly playing the media manipulation game, casting himself as the very image of competence and sanity while reportedly leaking less than flattering details about many of his competitors, like former President Bannon.

Bannon, an unkempt iconoclast, has generally chafed at the transition from firebomb campaigning to more modulated governing and for weeks has vented about the possibility of quitting, one person close to him said.

Reports of instability inside the White House put Trump's staff on the defensive on a day when it seemed certain that Trump would get a political boost for taking action against Syrian President Bashar Assad, who provoked worldwide outrage after officials said he used chemical weapons against his own people. Priebus's job security has been the focus of intense speculation ever since he arrived at the White House, but no report of his imminent demise has ever come to fruition.

There is even a list of potential replacements for Priebus and Bannon being floated around.

"There's a big fight [going on]", one senior official told the Daily Beast. Kushner now has an "interim" security clearance.

Ms. Trump, 35, will be the Presidents assistant and her husband, Mr. Kushner, 36, has the title of senior adviser. After landing in Mar-a-Lago Thursday, Trump huddled for a lengthy briefing from his top national security officials in a secure facility installed at the resort, going over options with Defense Secretary James Mattis, McMaster, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. And now Kushner has a prime seat at the president's table. According to the New York Times, there's been another: Democrat.

Though Tiffany hasn't been in touch with Ivanka as much since their father took office, the source says the two are "still close", with Ivanka always making sure her younger sister is "taken care of". And, as they say, in Washington D.C. positioning is everything.

  • Joey Payne