Reince Priebus was literally a walking tragedy… not in the modern sense of the word, but in the Ancient Greek context. He was a man with split loyalties who never really understood the Trump phenomena for which he would ultimately work. He literally tried to undo a presidency from within for the benefit of his true passion: a Federally oriented variant of a Democrat-lite Republican Party. In so doing, he sacrificed himself for his cause.
Consider who Priebus was and yesterday’s events make more sense.
Priebus was the former Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Prior to his RNC post, he was the former Chair of the Wisconsin Republican Party. As such, Reince was tight with House Majority Leader, Paul Ryan – the same Republican Majority Leader who was openly hostile to Donald Trump throughout the 2016 Presidential Election.
Reince was highly regarded for his strategic acumen that led to nearly 1200 nationwide seats swinging from Democrat to Republican. In reality, Reince simply rode a wave of anti-Obama voter discontent. Reince did not have to do much to be a successful RNC Chairman. Obama reminded Americans why they hated the Democrat Party on almost an hourly basis. Unless you lived in New York or California (or you are one of those two powerhouse’s satellite states, like Massachusetts or Oregon), you were going to vote Republican in 2016… no one from Wisconsin, especially Paul Ryan and Reince Priebus, ever understood this.
Considering the 2016 Presidential election of Donald Trump a fluke, Reince seems to have made a political calculation: use what little time this presidency has to strengthen the position of Congressional Republicans, even if it means to the detriment of the new Executive. It was obvious that Reince did not believe Trump had a chance in 2020 and he managed like someone setting up shop for a 2024 Republican run at the White House. Consider his almost immediate conflicts with Trump’s hard-line inner circle and you can see this.
He was seen by many as a “unifying” figure (read: controlling) who knew all the right people (read: establishment types). Establishment Republicans believed Reince could get the “good” Republicans in the White House, such as Chris Liddell and George Sifakis, while protecting the Republican Party from an uncontrollable President. By bringing in the “right” Republicans into the White House, the hope by some Establishment types (now obvious) was to steer the President toward a far more moderate agenda. Of course, for Establishment Republicans like Priebus, “Good” Republicans are defined as those who run on a centrist platform to “guarantee’ republican election victories in the near future (Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Nikki Haley… etc); “bad” Republicans are intransigent conservatives who vote on ideological principle (Rand Paul, Mike Conway, Jim Jordan).
When it appeared that Trump wanted to lead by way of his intuition – which won him the election – the Establishment got nervous. That is when they began leaking to “guide” the President back to their definition of the middle. It was yet another miscalculation of Trump by the Establishment.
Consider how effective the leaks were initially. Michael Flynn, hated by Establishment Republicans, was ousted due to leaks. Vincent Viola and Andy Puzder, are other nominees that were done-in by leakers. Almost all of these initial appointees were pro-Trump Paleocons that were hated by the Establishment.
Who in the White House would have had such access to leak information and redirect Presidential appointments? The Chief of Staff, of course.
The use of leaks is a Washington Swamp weapon of choice. Like sniveling little backstabbers, they are used to spread gossip and erode the power of the target. Usually, this forces the target to seek comfort in those who can stop or protect him from the leaks – and it almost worked. But unlike any other politician – because he is not a politician – Trump appears to have finally grown a spine of steel. It went the opposite direction, strengthening the President’s resolve to dispose of the Establishment once and for all.
Reince is only the first of many,
Get ready for a different White House.