NYT WASHINGTON — President Trump has never shown any reluctance to sacrifice a surrogate to serve a short-term political need, so he apparently did not think twice this week about exposing a series of staff members to ridicule as he repeatedly shifted his explanation for firing James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director.
Mr. Trump, obsessed with the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and increasingly frustrated by the hyper-scrutiny of the Washington press corps, is more in need of effective spokesmen than ever, and aides say he is considering a broad shake-up of his team.
But his career-long habit of viewing his public protectors as somewhat disposable, on vivid display after Mr. Comey’s sudden ouster, has not exactly been an incentive to step into the firing line on his behalf. <snip>
The view that the communications dysfunction begins at the top of the White House organizational chart is bipartisan.
“The most hazardous duty in Washington these days is that of Trump surrogate because the president constantly undercuts the statements of his own people,” said David Axelrod, a communications and messaging adviser to President Barack Obama. “You wind up looking like a liar or a fool, neither of which is particularly attractive.” <snip>
The president, said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, “resembles a quarterback who doesn’t call a huddle and gets ahead of his offensive line so nobody can block him and defend him because nobody knows what the play is.”