President Donald Trump's firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson via tweet is, as a metaphor for the overall Trump administration, almost too on the nose.
Tillerson was supposed to be one of the "adults in the room" — a sober, seasoned steward who would protect the country from Trump's worst instincts. Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Chief of Staff John Kelly, White House Economic Council Director Gary Cohn — these were the bulwarks between America and Trump's tweets becoming law.
But now Tillerson is gone. So is Cohn, who resigned exactly a week before Tillerson was fired. The latest reports from inside the White House suggest that Kelly and McMaster are next on the chopping block. Mattis is the only so-called adult whose spot in the administration seems secure.
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What's worse, they seem to have failed in their mission to corral the president.
Trump decided to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem — a move that experts say has already made it harder for the US to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. He withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, decertified Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal, said there were "good people" among the white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, and imposed dangerous tariffs on steel and aluminum imports because he was angry about bad press coverage.
All of this points to one obvious conclusion: The idea of the "adults in the room" was a comforting myth. The truth is that no number of advisers, no matter how skilled, can control a president as erratic as Trump.