President Donald Trump would be well advised to find someone to add to his administration with at least a shred of self-awareness and an appreciation for optics. The situations surrounding the Comey firing suggest that the people he has around him have no idea how to estimate how things will look. According to many reports, the administration had no idea that it was going to blow up in their faces when they fired Comey. Not only did they underestimate the reaction to the firing of Comey, but they also managed to seriously bungle the timing as well.
The administration made the decision to fire James Comey, the man investigating the Trump administration’s Russian ties, the day before Trump was slated to meet with Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister. That is insanely clueless. That is so clueless that it suggests only a tenuous relationship with reality.
Anyone with even a modicum of strategic knowledge would have delayed or canceled the meeting, or at least fired Comey with some more distance between that firing and pictures of Trump smiling and shaking hands with Lavrov. When they asked Lavrov about Comey, he asked if they were kidding. He probably knew how it looked. Maybe Trump should ask the Russians for some help.
Sergey Kislyak, the man many current and former intelligence agents say is a top recruiter of spies, was on Trump’s schedule the day following Comey’s firing. This is insane. Kislyak was at the center of several of the earlier waves of the Trump – Russia controversy.
At the very least, one would want an administration competent enough to figure out how things would look when they make a move like firing Comey. It’s one of those things where you have to imagine that someone along the way should have raised their hand and mentioned the headlines.
On top of the fact that he was meeting with the Russians at all, Trump made the ill-advised move of banning American journalists from the meeting while Russian reporters were allowed. The administration is now saying that they thought the person taking photographs was the Russian government photographer and not a journalist as well.
And the icing on the cake…
If the administration didn’t comprehend the terrible optics of meeting with two top Russian officials, one can’t blame them for missing this one. Trump also met with Henry Kissinger, who served as Secretary of State under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
If you’re going to fire the man who is in the middle of an investigation into you and your political allies, you might do well to think about other times something similar happened in our country’s past. The similarity to the Saturday Night Massacre should have set off a little mental alarm to someone, anyone in the administration.
Anyone with competence would think Trump fires Comey > Saturday Night Massacre > maybe don’t meet with anyone related to the Nixon administration the next day, but there was apparently nobody with the competence and influence to get that bit of common sense heard.
At this point, Saturday Night Live might as well give it a rest. This administration is a parody of itself.