With the symbolic 100-day milestone fast approaching but few victories to show for it, the White House is struggling to spin the president’s chaotic first months in office as a success. Last week, dozens of administration staffers reportedly packed into a conference room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building for a brainstorming session on how to sell America on Donald Trump, whose approval ratings had just sunk to an all-time low. There was just one problem: with the president seemingly making up his agenda on the fly, nobody on the White House communications team seemed to know what Trump’s foreign policy actually was.
“There is no Trump doctrine,” declared Mike Dubke, the White House communications director, according to several attendees who spoke to Politico. Dubke, who only joined the team after Trump’s original pick to lead the communications office, Jason Miller, departed amid rumors of an affair, reportedly said that the absence of a coherent, consistent foreign-policy agenda would present a messaging challenge. That didn’t go over well with the Trump loyalists in the room, who saw the remark as an affront to Trump and the nationalistic agenda he campaigned on.
“It rubbed people the wrong way because on the campaign we were pretty clear about what he wanted to do,” one White House official in the room told Politico. “He was elected on a vision of America First. America First is the Trump doctrine.” Another administration official in the room expressed exasperation at Dubke’s pronouncement. “We’ve got a comms team supposedly articulating the president’s message [that] does not appear to understand the president’s message".