At a Besieged White House, Tempers Flare and Confusion Swirls –
By GLENN THRUSH and MAGGIE HABERMANMAY 16, 2017
WASHINGTON — The bad-news stories slammed into the White House in pitiless succession on Tuesday, leaving
President Trump’s battle-scarred West Wing aides staring at their flat screens in glassy-eyed shock.
That prompted a stampede of reporters from the White House briefing room into the lower press gallery of the White House, where Mr. Trump’s first-line defenders had few answers
but an abundance of anxieties about their job security.
People close to the president said Mr. Trump was considering the firing of several lower-level staff members, including several hired by
Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, while weighing a plan to hand most day-to-day briefing responsibilities to Ms. Sanders.
Mr. Trump’s rattled staff kept close tabs on a meeting early Monday in which the president summoned Mr. Spicer; the deputy press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders;
and the communications director, Michael Dubke, to lecture them on the need “to get on the same page,” according to a person briefed on the meeting.
The White House Counsel’s Office worked with the national security adviser, an Army general, on framing
language, producing a clipped sound bite: “The story that came out tonight as reported is false.”
As he was working on his statement, General McMaster, a former combat commander who appeared uncomfortable in a civilian suit
and black-framed glasses, nearly ran into reporters staking out Mr. Spicer’s office.