Donald Trump has less influence every day and politicians are 'already looking beyond him', former White House advisor says

Pippa Malmgren claims Vice President Mike Pence is doing leader's day-to-day work 

Chloe Farand
Saturday 19 August 2017 15:17 BST
US President Donald Trump with Vice President Mike Pence speaking to reporters following a security briefing
US President Donald Trump with Vice President Mike Pence speaking to reporters following a security briefing ( REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Donald Trump's influence is rapidly shrinking and politicians are "already looking beyond him", a former White House advisor has said.

Pippa Malmgren, who served as a special assistant to former President George W Bush, said the US President was failing to turn his words into concrete action.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Ms Malmgren said Mr Trump was "less and less [influential] every day", adding "he says something and then nothing happens".

"In the political area, people are already looking beyond him," she said.

Ms Malmgren said Mr Trump did not know how to operate the US government which, she claimed, was leaving the door open for Vice President Mike Pence to wield his influence.

"The vice-president is effectively acting as the president in the sense of running the meetings, handling the day-to-day flow," she added.

Mr Pence would take over if Mr Trump was unable to perform his duties as President, including situations whereby he resigned or was impeached.

Last week, Mr Pence denied reports following an article in the New York Times that he would run for president in 2020, saying the allegations were "disgraceful and offensive".

Ms Malmgren's comments come at a time of ongoing chaos inside the White House after President Trump fired his right-hand man and chief strategist Steve Bannon, the architect of his election victory and the driver behind his administration's populism.

Mr Bannon's seven contentious months at the White House have often led the media to describe him as the mastermind behind Mr Trump's policy agenda.

His departure ends a tumultuous four weeks during which a string of officials left the White House, including the former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former press secretary Sean Spicer and former communications director Anthony Scaramucci.

Ms Malmgren, an American who has been a non-executive director at the UK Department for International Trade and an advisor to its secretary Liam Fox since November, said she believed Mr Trump's political style may last more than four years but that he, as President, may not.

She also quashed Brexiteers' "excitement" for a "very big" trade deal with the US, saying that Mr Trump was "hostile to trade" and "cannot magic up a trade deal" with the UK, before adding that Mr Pence would also be "hostile to trade".

This will come as a blow for supporters of Prime Minister Theresa May who has been courting the US President following their first meeting in Washington in January.

She came under fire this week when she condemned the violence by white supremacists during a rally in Charlottesville, Virgina, which killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer but refused to mention Mr Trump's response in her comment.

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