White House on edge as 100-day judgment nears

‘We’ve got essentially two-and-a-half weeks to turn everything around,’ says one Trump staffer.

President Donald Trump has far more than three years left in his first term. But inside his pressure-cooker of a White House, aides and advisers are sweating the next three weeks.

The symbolic 100-day mark by which modern presidents are judged menaces for an image-obsessed chief executive whose opening sprint has been marred by legislative stumbles, legal setbacks, senior staff kneecapping one another, the resignation of his national security adviser and near-daily headlines and headaches about links to Russia.

The date, April 29, hangs over the West Wing like the sword of Damocles as the unofficial deadline to find their footing— or else.

But however real Trump’s frustrations are with the three rival power centers he has installed — chief of staff Reince Priebus, son-in-law Jared Kushner and chief strategist Stephen Bannon — top officials inside and around the White House don’t expect Trump to make any drastic changes until after 100 days, lest staff turmoil stories swamp a key stretch of media coverage.

That reprieve — unless Trump simply decides he’s had enough — has both bought his staff a little time and put them on edge.

“One hundred days is the marker, and we’ve got essentially two-and-a-half weeks to turn everything around,” said one White House official. “This is going to be a monumental task.”

For a president who often begins and ends his days imbibing cable news, the burden has fallen heavily on a press team that recognizes how well they sell Trump’s early tenure in the media will likely color the president’s appetite for an internal shake-up.

That was the backdrop for a tense planning session for the 100-day mark last week.

 

 

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