Nation

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK

No chaos in White House, Trump says, ‘only great energy’

OFFICIAL VISIT — President Trump greeted Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven outside the West Wing of the White House Tuesday in Washington. The two heads of state later held a joint news conference. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — President Trump pushed back Tuesday against reports that his White House is in chaos, following the resignations of senior staff members and as the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election meddling inched closer to his inner circle.

In a Twitter post, Trump said “people will always come & go.” He added, “There is no Chaos, only great Energy!”

It was an odd defense for a man who has thrived on chaos and has used it as a way to both organize people and manage them.

Advertisement

In his tweet, Trump suggested more resignations may be coming: “I still have some people that I want to change (always seeking perfection).”

Get Ground Game in your inbox:
Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The New York Times and others reported on the cascading chaos of last week, with the announcement of the resignation of one of his longest-serving aides, Hope Hicks. Economic adviser Gary D. Cohn resigned on Tuesday.

Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, had his security clearance downgraded, significantly limiting his access to some of the most serious national security issues the president faces. The White House also pushed back on rumors that Trump planned to fire his national security adviser, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster. Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, resigned early last year and is cooperating with the special counsel in its ongoing investigation.

The president’s tweet about chaos was one of several on a range of topics, including immigration policy and the prospects of a denuclearized North Korea. Trump was also critical of the Oscars’ record-low ratings. He said, “Problem is, we don’t have Stars anymore — except your President (just kidding, of course)!”

New York Times

Ex-US health chief to run for Florida congressional seat MIAMI — Donna Shalala, the former Health and Human Services secretary and president of the University of Miami, is running as a Democrat for the congressional seat vacated by retiring Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Advertisement

According to Federal Election Commission paperwork filed Monday, Shalala, 77, will run in Florida’s 27th district, which includes much of Miami Beach, downtown Miami, and coastal Miami-Dade County.

Shalala, who has never run for elected office, has taught a political science class at the University of Miami since stepping down in April as president of the Clinton Foundation. She was president of the university for 14 years.

Fernand Amandi, a pollster and political consultant advising Shalala, told the Miami Herald she plans to speak about her candidacy later this week. Shalala had been considering running for Congress, and decided to declare her intentions after the newspaper reported that a poll in late January showed her far ahead in the Democratic field of candidates.

Ros-Lehtinen was the first Cuban-American elected to Congress in 1988. Now 64, she revealed last April that she would retire at the end of this term after 30 years in the heavily Democratic district. Ros-Lehtinen won reelection by 10 percentage points in 2016, even as Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by 20 percentage points in the district.

Associated Press

US quietly OK’s import of African elephant body parts

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has quietly decided once again to allow Americans to import the body parts of African elephants shot for sport, despite presidential tweets decrying the practice as a ‘‘horror show.’’

Advertisement

President Trump intervened in November when the US Fish and Wildlife Service first said it would lift an Obama-era ban on elephants imported from Zimbabwe and Zambia. They agency contends that encouraging wealthy big-game hunters to kill the threatened species would help raise money for conservation programs.

The agency overseen by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued a letter last week announcing the importation of elephant trophies will now be approved on a ‘‘case-by-case basis.’’ Nether the Interior Department nor Fish and Wildlife issued a media release announcing the decision, which was quickly condemned by environmental advocates.

Associated Press

Conway found to have violated Hatch Act The idea behind the Hatch Act is simple. There’s a lot of power in Washington and elected officials earn their positions to wield that power on behalf of their constituents. One can see how an unscrupulous person might try to leverage that power to extend their partisan advantage, filling their staffs with political lackeys or dispatching staff to work on partisan political efforts. Or, in a more common example, using their official positions to advocate partisan positions.

On Tuesday, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, became the latest member of Trump’s administration to have violated the Hatch Act, according to the Office of Special Counsel (not to be confused with special counsel Robert Mueller). On two occasions last year, Conway was interviewed on television as part of her official capacity and, during those interviews, advocated the election of Roy Moore to the Senate from Alabama.

‘‘In passing this law, Congress intended to promote public confidence in the executive branch by ensuring the federal government is working for all Americans without regard to their political views,’’ the OSC’s letter to Trump read. ‘‘Ms. Conway’s statements during the “Fox & Friends” and “New Day” interviews impermissibly mixed official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama special election for US Senate.’’

The White House made clear that there wouldn’t be any punishment. This was the second time Conway has violated ethics rules since coming to the White House. When Nordstrom stopped carrying Ivanka Trump’s clothing line early in the administration, Conway said in an interview, ‘‘Go buy Ivanka’s stuff . . .”

Washington Post