The Silver Spoons White House

All I really hope to get out of John Kelly is a little insurance against the president inadvertently causing an international incident, or worse, a nuclear exchange on the Korean Peninsula. I don’t have any faith that the reins he’s putting on Trump and his staff will be lasting or sufficient to create a reasonably functional executive office.

The overall impression I get from reading about Kelly’s efforts is of a new butler put in charge of an absolutely insufferable pre-teen who has inherited a vast fortune and has absolutely no morals, disciple, or decency. He’ll try to get Trump to do his homework and stop making prank calls, but the second he’s not looking Trump will take some friends down to the backyard pond and dynamite the fish.

I wish I were kidding, but I am 100% serious. Even the straight reporting on Kelly/Trump from places like Bloomberg looks like a bizarro remake of Silver Spoons directed by Wes Craven.

“No, Little Ricky Stratton can’t come out to play!”

In his first week, Kelly also quickly moved to take control of the door to the Oval Office. His predecessor, Reince Priebus, seemed unable to stop White House staffers from popping in unannounced to see the president — dropping news articles on his desk that he would love or hate, sharing ideas for tweets, or just getting valuable face time with the boss. Trump, who’s known to be easily distracted, would wave-in the visitors, even as his scheduled appointments sometimes backed up. Kelly insists that anyone who wants to see the president now must go through him.

“No, Ricky, you can’t use the computer to troll people!”

Perhaps even more important, Kelly is testing his authority to tame Trump’s sometimes reckless tweeting habits. While Kelly isn’t vetting every presidential tweet, Trump has shown a willingness to consult with his chief of staff before hitting “send” on certain missives that might cause an international uproar or lead to unwelcome distractions, according to three people familiar with the interactions. Kelly has been “offering a different way to say the same thing,” the person said.

Trump has made it clear, however, that he reserves the right to ignore advice on tweets.

“No, I won’t deliver your stupid message to Ricky. He has to finish his math homework!”

Joining Kelly at Bedminster this weekend is Rick Wadell, a deputy national security adviser and major general in the Army Reserves, and White House staff secretary Rob Porter, whose job it is to filter the materials others are seeking to get in front of the president. Kelly has asked Porter to help vet documents before they reach Trump’s hands.

Of course, on the real Silver Spoons, it was the father who acted like an overgrown child.

In the pilot episode, Ricky Stratton (Ricky Schroder) arrives at the mansion of the father he has never met to introduce himself, move in, and get to know him better. Edward Stratton III (Joel Higgins) epitomizes the phrase “overgrown child”; he has never taken responsibility for anything in his life, including his toy business, “Eddie Toys.” Ricky recognizes that his dad needs to grow up; Edward thinks his son is too uptight and needs to have more fun while he’s still young.

This analogy is almost perfect.

Leave a Reply