Just in: MAJOR West Wing reshuffle; Priebus says…

After the giddy relief of defeating Hillary Clinton, reality quickly set in for those of us on the sidelines.

Donald Trump enjoyed…oh, maybe a 20 minute honeymoon before the crap started flying from the left, and he struggled to boot up an administration no one in DC expected to win.

Hundreds of key Senate-confirmed positions are still to be filled. For example, in the Department of Defense alone, out of 53 presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed positions, only General Mattis is in place. The rest of the positions are being filled by a mixture of Obama holdovers and civil servants. He does not yet have top policy adviser including an under secretary of defense for policy or an assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security, to take just one region.

Meanwhile, we’re all full aware of the quick departure of Michael Flynn who continues to be drawn into the bogus “Russia’ investigation. Just days ago, Boris Epshteyn, a key White House communications staffer, “abruptly” left his job.

And here comes another one.

Deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh, a key ally of Reince Priebus is leaving her post to join an outside group called America First Policies, “a non-profit organization supporting key policy initiatives that will work for all citizens in our country and put America first” — in other words a PAC-like organization that helps to support Trump’s agenda. The organization failed to buy ads or target “recalcitrant Republicans” who didn’t support Ryan’s healthcare plan and Walsh’s addition to the team is seen as a way to shore up support for the president’s key initiatives.

Of course, Politico wonders, the more immediate question looming over the faction-ridden White House was whether Walsh was the beginning or end of changes in the West Wing.

Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon and senior aide Jared Kushner briefed a small group of reporters about the move on Thursday afternoon and insisted it was less of a shake-up and more of a rebooting of an outside effort that they believe had stumbled.

A close ally of Priebus — she served as chief of staff at the Republican National Committee — Walsh was one of a number of RNC staffers he brought with him to the White House, including press secretary Sean Spicer.

The move could have significant implications for Priebus, who is losing one of his top lieutenants. “He basically took away Reince’s political secret service. She was his eyes and ears inside,” said a source close to Trump.

White House officials insisted Walsh leaving did not signal anything about Priebus’ status. “Reince is not next,” said a top White House official.

We shall see. We shall see. One thing is for certain: there’s never a dull moment in the Trump administration. But one could say the same thing about being caught in a tornado.

[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]


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