The war between the White House and the press is escalating 200 days into the new administration, with President Trump launching daily attacks on the press and an emboldened news media becoming increasingly transparent about its hostility toward the president.
The White House has struggled to hit on a consistent communications strategy or a reasonable way of dealing with the combative press corps.
Former press secretary Sean Spicer is gone, as is Anthony Scaramucci, whose brief tenure as communications director exacerbated tensions between the White House and the media and contributed to the sense that the White House’s communications strategy has no direction.
The communications director job has already been filled three times, by Mike Dubke, Spicer and Scaramucci. Now the job is open again, even as Trump steams ahead with his effort to undermine public trust in the “fake news” media.
Meanwhile, Trump’s aides and outside allies are astonished by how quickly the mainstream press has taken to ridiculing the administration or engaging in what they see as petty score-settling.
Top mainstream media figures and news outlets are tweaking Trump for taking a 17-day “working vacation,” writing stories about the personal lives of administration officials that are meant to cast them as hypocrites and adopting a sneering tone that Trump’s allies say is unprecedented.