A new story confirms that the outsider Trump Team is refusing to be assimilated into the Deep State.
During his campaign, many conservatives insisted that Outsider Trump was a deception. As soon as he won the Presidency, he would show himself to be a member of the Establishment. While there may be reasons to be disappointed in some things Donald Trump has done (bombing Syria upset some diehard Trump supporters), the attitude of the Deep State toward Trump makes it clear that he is still their enemy. Indeed, a recent Politico story makes it clear that Team Trump is refusing to join with the Washington establishment, even on a social basis. “‘It’s the End of Small Talk in Washington’” portrays this as a weakness because it makes it harder to “get things done.” But at least this means Donald Trump is still trying to do what he promised. If the networks in the Capitol were willing to help him, it would be reason to believe he was compromising.
Instead, as the story reports, Outsider Trump is still “unsettling” the Deep State:
Georgetown as LBJ thought of it, and as presidents up through Bill Clinton encountered it, is now a faint ghost, largely a historical phenomenon. But its lineal descendant is still very much around. It is that group of scene-makers and self-promoters, along with some well-intentioned people who genuinely admire public service, that journalist Mark Leibovich skewered in his 2013 book This Town.
If these were normal times, the kind of people LBJ excoriated and Leibovich lampooned would be engaged right now in a familiar ritual. It would involve lunches and dinners with the new White House team, off-the-record chats about the workings of government mixed with let’s-be-friends chatter about real estate and schools and fitness routines. Presidential advisers would respond cautiously, flattered by their new social cachet, and correctly worried that they might be suspected of divided loyalties and leaks back at the White House.
But these aren’t normal times. Team Trump is showing few signs so far of hungering for the sort of social intercourse with permanent Washington that usually accompanies a new administration. And many longtime capital denizens in interviews describe themselves as put off by what they see as Trump’s personal vulgarity, and disturbed on some more fundamental level by the tornado of ethical controversies swirling around him.
“I think you are going to need a very strong blender to mix the Washington community with the Trump crowd, and I don’t think it’s going to end up being a smoothie,” says Sally Quinn, widow of the legendary Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. “A friend of mine said, ‘It’s the end of small talk in Washington.’”
If Donald Trump’s arrival in the White House has torn at the social fabric across the country, it has interrupted the rhythms and culture of daily life nowhere as much as the city where he now lives. Like many politicians, he ran against Washington, but far more than any president in memory, that outsider rhetoric has translated into outsider governance, a disdain for the capital that seems to translate into genuine disconnection from its existing networks.
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