First came Trump Management Inc., founded in 1926 by the president’s father Fred Trump, the real estate man.
Decades later, there was Trump Model Management, founded by Donald Trump in 1999, a troubled business that closed last year.
Now the question is what model of management, if any, the Trump White House follows.
A top Oval Office aide was accused of domestic violence. In theory, the response was simple: Find out what happened and decide if the allegation was solid enough to remove, or temporarily or permanently reassign, the person involved.
Instead, a manageable personnel problem metastasized into a public issue, adding to the chaos in the executive branch.
By midweek last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified that the bureau finished a background report on secretary Rob Porter in July and closed out the case last month.
This contradicted Trump aides’ version of events, that a required probe for Porter’s security clearance was still going on until he quit last week.
The level of discipline was illustrated when a White House official told The Washington Post that smoothly conveying the accurate facts is “simply not in our DNA . . . Truthful and transparent is great, but we don’t even have a coherent strategy to obfuscate.”
Another management problem flared up last Wednesday when the Veterans Affairs Department’s inspector general released a report saying Secretary David Shulkin’s chief of staff doctored an email and made false statements.
This fudging was allegedly carried out to help improperly cover agency expenses for Shulkin’s wife on a 10-day European trip last summer, the IG said. Costs related to the trip have been questioned for months.
Nobody knows how long this matter will remain unresolved and unmanaged.
Even outside the White House, the Trump team manages to complicate private matters.
As revealed before, Trump lawyer Michael Cohen set up a shell company in Delaware in 2016 to pass a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Campaign finance officials were called on to investigate.
Last Tuesday, Cohen said: “Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.”
Now, Daniels’ manager Gina Rodriguez tells The Associated Press that because Cohen publicly discussed the payment, he violated a nondisclosure agreement, and her client is free to discuss her alleged 2006 affair with the president-to-be.
How’s that for managing a public-relations crisis?