'An unmitigated disaster': Trump advisors dismayed by president's continued botching of protest responses
In a report from the Washington Post, one advisor to Donald Trump who works outside the White House complained about the president's actions relating to the anti-police brutality protests-- from tweets to putting up a fence around the White House -- and bluntly called his actions an "unmitigated disaster."
According to the report, the administration is still reeling from reports that the president was whisked away to an underground bunker last Friday due to protests that reached the White House gates, believing the action made the image-conscious Trump look weak. Since that time, the president attempted a photo-op at a church adjacent from the White House that blew up in the administration's face after peaceful protesters were gassed to clear a path for the president.
Now the White House has greatly expanded fencing around the White House to protect the president which some in the administration thinks projects even more weakness.
"This week’s security measures follow nighttime demonstrations just outside the campus gates last weekend that turned violent. White House officials stressed that Trump was not involved in the decision to beef up security or to increase the fencing around the compound’s perimeter, with one senior administration official saying that the precautions are not unique to the Trump administration," the Post reports. "Nevertheless, the resulting picture is both jarring and distinctly political — a Rorschach test for one’s view of Trump’s presidency. His supporters see a projection of absolute strength, a leader controlling the streets to protect his people. His critics see a wannabe dictator and a president hiding from his own citizenry."
According to Deborah Berke, dean of the Yale School of Architecture, the actions of the White House reflects poorly on the president.
“I think the need to fortify your house — and it’s not his house; it’s our house — shows weakness,” she explained. “The president of the United States should not feel threatened by his or her own citizens.”
One adviser to the president agrees.
"The bunker report has made Trump the subject of mockery on some cable news shows as well as on social media, where some users have dubbed him 'Bunker Boy,'" the report states. "Far from hiding away inside, a senior White House official said, the president has left the grounds twice this week — on Monday for his controversial photo op at the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church and on Tuesday to visit the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Northeast Washington. Trump aides are divided over the political impact of the recent events. Some believe Trump has 'totally botched' his handling of the protests and created 'an unmitigated disaster,' according to one outsider adviser."
According to Kevin Madden, a former top aide to Republican Mitt Romney, the image of the fences might come back to haunt Trump.
“You’re an incumbent who’s declaring ‘law and order’ and the split-screen shows that there is serious unrest and upheaval, and then there are the images of security barriers going up around buildings that many Americans have always had free access to,” he explained. “That change can oftentimes really shape perceptions in a challenging way.”
You can read more here.