It’s been a week since Donald Trump was made president-elect, to both his and much of the nation’s surprise. Perhaps because few inside or outside of the campaign thought he had a chance, Trump’s transition effort—helmed since the summer by manservant Chris Christie, who was replaced by Mike Pence on Friday, fulfilling an ancient prophecy—has been, by all accounts except Trump’s, a chaotic and unprofessional effort, one that bodes ill for the Trump era as a whole.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the transition effort was “marked by firings, infighting and revelations that American allies were blindly dialing in to Trump Tower to try to reach the soon-to-be-leader of the free world.” Pence has been leading a purge of Christie’s transition team, removing both those loyal to Christie, like former Representative Mike Rogers, and many lobbyists. (Given Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp,” their presence always seemed like a needless own goal.)
Many believe that the removal of Rogers and three other Christie appointees was orchestrated by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner as revenge for Christie’s role in the prosecution of his father. Replacements have been brought in, but they will do very little to calm those who worry about what a Trump presidency will bring. Frank Gaffney, for example, is an Islamaphobe who has claimed that Huma Abedin and Grover Norquist belong to the Muslim Brotherhood. He is so crazy he was banned from CPAC.
Trump goes into game show mode when he’s under stress and that’s exactly what he did on Wednesday morning.
Trump and Pence have plenty of time to turn this ship around. The inauguration is still over two months away. And the focus on Trump’s messy transition may not be entirely bad for him, as it obscures some of the coverage of the horrifying people he is considering for high-level positions and the merging of Trump’s business empire and his presidency.