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Ralph Benko to President Trump: End The West Wing War By Focusing The White House On Economic Growth

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Economic stagnation brings with it a social curse. We’re seeing the curse manifesting in the stories about infighting among President Trump’s key advisors. It presents as a clash between the “Nationalists,” of whom Steve Bannon, both lightning wielder and rod, is the lead figure and the “Deal Makers,” of whom Jared Kushner is preeminent. President Trump reportedly has told them both to “work this out.”

But only Trump has the power to really work this out, by directing his advisors — all of them — to start focusing on the right question. How to engineer a 3% – 4% economic growth rate? Getting there is not a mulligan.

But then, Trump thrives on challenge.

TIME Magazine astutely sorts the top advisors to the president into categories: the “Nationalists,” the “New York Deal Makers,” the “Realists,” and the “Establishment Republicans.” Kellyanne Conway and Hope Hicks are termed the “Trump Whisperers, the Minders of the Brand.” Just about right.

I quibble with TIME’s inclusion of Steve Miller, more of a pragmatist, than, notwithstanding his legacy fixation on immigration, a Nationalist and excluding from the Nationalist camp Conway, convincingly tabbed by Molly Ball at the Atlantic as the chief architect of Trump’s anti-immigration posture.

Moreover, the omission of treasury’s “special counselor” Craig Phillips, compellingly profiled in the New York Times by Gretchen Morgenstern, may be a grave omission.  There are credible reports that Phillips is making a power grab — one callous-to-the-point-of-cynical as to Trump’s campaign promises — over economic policy. Phillips thus is to be counted, notwithstanding his location just next door to the White House, among the “Deal Makers.”

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