The Slatest

Trump’s Transition Operation Is Just As Chaotic As His Campaign. Uh-Oh.

Presidential-elect Donald Trump shakes hands with Vice President–elect Mike Pence on election night.

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s transition team remains stuck in transition. Here’s the latest example of the trouble the president-elect is having, via the New York Times:

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition operation plunged into disarray on Tuesday with the abrupt departure of Mike Rogers, who had handled national security matters, the second shake-up in less than a week on a team that has not yet begun to execute the daunting task of taking over the government. …

In another sign of disarray, a transition official said on Tuesday that Mr. Trump had removed a second senior defense and foreign policy official from his transition team, Matthew Freedman, who runs a Washington consulting firm that advises foreign governments and companies seeking to do business with the United States government.

Those departures came only days after Chris Christie was unexpectedly and unceremoniously demoted from atop the transition team and replaced by Vice President–elect Mike Pence. Rogers’ name had originally been floated for a high-level position within the Trump administration, but that ship appears to have sailed directly into a Jared Kushner–shaped iceberg. NBC News reports that Rogers was forced out as part of what one of its unnamed sources described as a “Stalinesque purge” of Christie allies from the transition team. If that’s true, Rogers’ and Freedman’s departures likely won’t be the last.

The transition-team turmoil would be concerning if the president-elect had past government experience to fall back on. Trump, of course, does not. More troubling still is the evidence that suggests he never spent much time prepping for what will be his first government job. Trump reportedly ignored his D.C.-area policy shop during the campaign to such a degree—up to and including failing to actually pay them for their service—that many of the experts who were ostensibly helping to plot out what a Trump administration would look like in practice quit en masse this summer. Concerns about Trump’s unpreparedness only grew louder this week when the Wall Street Journal reported that, during his meeting with President Obama after the election, Trump was surprised to learn just how big of a job being president actually will be.

On one level, Trump Team in Disarray is hardly a surprising headline after the tumult we’ve witnessed during the past year. Internal unrest and infighting were hallmarks of Trump’s campaign, regardless of whether it was being led by Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort, or Steve Bannon. In the end, of course, those internal problems didn’t stop Trump from winning the election. But the campaign is now over, and running for president is not the same thing as being president. Donald Trump seems to be learning that only now—with less than 70 days until he is sworn in.