If you want to know what will happen on the Trump Show after Scaramucci's departure, just follow the tweets

Since entering the Oval Office, Trump has metamorphosed into a creature from Greek mythology: half tangerine grotesque with a mutant alien foetus for a scalp, half golf buggy

Matthew Norman
Tuesday 01 August 2017 19:03 BST
The President tweets under the Twitter handle @realDonaldTrump
The President tweets under the Twitter handle @realDonaldTrump (Getty)

As a four star Marine Corps General, John Kelly already has plenty of medals. The question today is whether he can add another, the “Scaramucci Endurance Medal For Long Service (More Than A Week) At The Pleasure Of The President”, to the collection.

Who can say? At the time of writing, General Kelly still hasn’t been escorted from the White House, and remains chief of staff after almost 24 hours in the post.

But however encouraging that will seem, the most reliable indicator of Donald Trump’s actions is less so. And that, of course, is a previous tweet attacking someone else, often falsely, for a future offence of his own.

A glance at the archive unearths the now legendary @realDonaldTrump gem from 10 January 2012. “3 Chief of Staffs in less than 3 years of being President: Part of the reason why @BarackObama can’t manage to pass his agenda.”

Six months in, Trump is frustratingly stuck on two. He won’t tolerate that deficit for long when outdoing the hated Obama is his strongest motivation.

Take golf. “Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the US, President Obama spent the day playing golf,” he tweeted in October 2014, later vowing that he’d be far too busy making America great again to play at all.

Since entering the Oval Office, Trump has metamorphosed into a creature from Greek mythology: half tangerine grotesque with a mutant alien foetus for a scalp, half golf buggy.

And take transparency. “Obama thinks he can just laugh off the fact that he refuses to release his records to the American public. He can’t,” tweeted Trump in November 2012. So how’s that publishing-your-tax-returns thing working out for ya, Mr Prez?

Or take diversionary military action. “Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate” (October 2012). Remind me who it was, back in April when his poll numbers were tanking, who attacked Syria and dropped the “mother of all bombs” on Afghanistan?

When Pope Francis gets round to canonising Trump, “St Donald of Ass Easy To Come By When You’re A Star”, he will be the patron saint of projection. Two of the three required miracles – 1. getting elected, and 2. being more abhorrently clueless than anyone foresaw – are already acknowledged. When Vatican hagiographers study the Twitter archive standing proxy for his presidential library, they will formally recognise the third: Trump’s power to ridicule the law of averages by being so relentlessly wrong.

Everyone relished Monday’s dawn chorus tweet – “No WH chaos” – but how about this beauty from a week ago: “So great that John McCain is coming back to vote. Brave – American hero! Thank you John”?

Or this, from four years ago: “Just shows that you can have all the cards and lose if you don’t know what you’re doing”? Or this from 18 June: “The new Rasmussen Poll, one of the most accurate in the 2016 Election, just out with a Trump 50% Approval Rating. That's higher than O’s #’s!”

Curiously, Trump has yet to share Rasmussen’s latest, which has him approved by 39 per cent. If dropping 11 points in six weeks counts as a “tailspin”, expect a military distraction imminently.

As for Kelly, it isn’t only the staff turnover form book that dooms him to a quick departure. It is the fact that the General will be no more able than anyone else to restrain the beast indefinitely.

How many times can someone say “Mr President, with the greatest of respect, you simply cannot do that”, and survive? If there is an informal three-strike rule, Kelly used up his first with “Mr President, you simply cannot keep the Mooch if you expect me to do this job.”

Now suppose Trump floats a bombing campaign to divert attention from a Rasmussen approval rating of 35 per cent? “Mr President, with great respect, you cannot fire a bunch of Tomahawks at Guam,” would be strike two.

Bush's former ethics chief on Trump: We have repeated instances of obstruction of justice

A week later, when Trump called the gang to the board room to reveal his intention to fire Robert Mueller, it’s a fair bet that the Kelly who contemplated resigning from his previous job at Homeland Security over James Comey’s sacking would strike out.

Perhaps Trump’s extreme weakness will force him to give Kelly more vetoes than that, but it won’t be many. His tolerance of defiance stretches little further than his concentration span.

Besides, a simple extrapolation from the 5:1 Trump-Obama golfing ratio conveys the pressure to replace Kelly promptly. Having spent five times as many days on the golf course as his predecessor, Trump needs to race through 15 chiefs of staff before his third year is up (if he makes it that far).

Having just checked Trump’s Twitter feed again, the good news for Kelly is that he hasn’t been hailed “a great American” or “an American hero” within the last couple of hours. The odds against him being decorated with the Scaramucci medal are narrowing.

The not so good news is embedded within another vintage tweet (this one was filed a few months after “I wonder what the next scandal will be in DC? Can we handle yet another?”) from 31 August 2013: “Be prepared,” warned the doyen of boy scouting, “there is a small chance that our horrendous leadership could unknowingly lead us into World War III.”

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