I think Jared and Ivanka are concerned with being accepted in the right places, they care about what the beautiful people think,” he said. “They care about being well received in the Upper West Side cocktail parties. They view Steve as a man with dirty fingernails, with some weird, crazy, extremist philosophy they don’t think is in the best interest of the President. With all respect to them, they don’t understand how Trump got elected. They don’t understand the forces behind it, they don’t understand the dynamics of the situation, and they certainly don’t understand his appeal and the people who voted for him—they can’t understand it.  They would like the President to be more like George Bush: one-dimensional, predictable, neocon, mainstream. Trump adviser
Jared believes that it’s a bad deal and that the standards were too high and could hurt the economy. But his preference would have been to stay in. Ivanka’s preference was to stay in, but she saw her role as setting up a process inside and outside the government to get information to her father from all sides of the issue. White House official
The early few months of the Trump presidency are, in many ways, Claudian. Trump is likewise an outsider who, in the view of the Washington aristocracy, should never have been president. The thrice-married Trump was supposedly too old, too crude, too coarse, and too reckless in his past private life. His critics now allege that the blunt-talking Trump suffers from some sort of psychological or physical ailment, given that his accent, diction, grammar, and general manner of speaking, as well as his comportment, just don’t seem presidential. If Claudius constantly scribbled down observations on imperial life (unfortunately now mostly lost), Trump is an incessant tweeter, who daily issues forth a litany of impromptu impressions, half-baked thoughts, and assertions—that are likewise the stuff of ridicule by journalists. The media and the Washington establishment—like Claudius’s elite critics, Seneca, Suetonius, and Tacitus—focus mostly on the psychodramas of the president. But while they obsess over the frequent absence of First Lady Melania, Trump’s two-scoop ice cream deserts, the supposed undue and sinister influence of Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, the insider spats between the New York moderates and the Steve Bannon true-blue populists, the assorted firings of former Obama appointees, and investigations of Trump associates—the American government, like Rome under Claudius, goes on. Critics also miss the fact that Trump is not a catalyst but a reflection of contemporary culture, in the way that the world portrayed in Petronius’s Satyricon both pre- and postdated Claudius. The Neroian crudity, obscenity, and vulgarity of a Madonna, Bill Maher, or Steven Colbert—or DNC head Tom Perez or California Senator Kamala Harris—had nothing to do with Donald Trump. The real story of the Trump administration is not the messy firing of James Comey or the hysterical attacks on Trump by the media, or even his own shoot-from-the-hip excesses. Rather Trump, also like Claudius, has assembled a first-rate team of advisors and cabinet officials. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, and Homeland Security Director John Kelly—and the dozens of professionals who work for them—comprise the most astute and experienced group of strategists, diplomats, world travelers, and foreign policy thinkers since the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. Never have so many cabinet officers been given such responsibility and autonomy. It is unlikely that a Mattis or McMaster—outsiders who lack bureaucratic portfolios—would have ever held such office under either a progressive Democratic president or an establishment Republican one. A mercurial and unpredictable president gives a Secretary of Defense or State more leverage abroad than does an apologetic sounding and predictably complacent Commander in Chief. The result is a recovering military and a slow restoration of American deterrence abroad that will ultimately make the world safer and the need for America to intervene less likely. Trump’s Justice Department under former Senator Jeff Sessions and his Deputy Rod Rosenstein is likewise a vast improvement over the one headed by Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, which politicized and even nullified federal law. So far, any diagnosis of what our contemporary Claudius has done in his first three months rather than what he has said—or what the media says he has said or done—suggests national improvement. The stock market is up over the last four months. Unemployment is down. Labor participation is inching up. Business confidence polls stronger. Illegal immigration has dropped by 70 percent. Federal revenues are increasing while federal spending is declining. Neil Gorsuch and other federal judicial appointees are being roundly praised. Local police and federal law enforcement officials are re-enthused after years of demoralization. Trump’s executive orders on the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, and the reenergized support for the coal industry, will bring more jobs and lower energy costs. Industries like steel, aluminum, and beef are talking about exporting and hiring in a way that they have not in years. While the media caricatures Trump’s propensity to jawbone companies about outsourcing jobs abroad, corporations themselves see executive orders on deregulation, promises of tax reform, and a new attitude of “America first” as incentives to stay home and hire Americans. (…) In the end, Claudius was likely murdered by dynastic rivals and relatives who thought that a young, glib, handsome, intellectual, and artistic Nero would be a pleasant relief from the awkwardness, bluntness, and weirdness of Claudius. What followed was the triumph of artists, intellectuals, stylish aristocrats, obsequious dynastic insiders, and flatterers—many of them eventually to be consumed by the reign of terror they so eagerly helped to usher in. Victor Davis Hanson
Bannonism always thrives in the Trump White House when it can serve as a political accelerant for Trump, who, at the time of his decision on Thursday, was confronting a continued erosion of support from his own base, a widening Russia probe, and a stalled agenda in Congress. On the climate accord, Kushner and Ivanka hardly had a chance. Bannon’s nationalism, especially when it comes to trade and immigration, is still not widely supported in the Republican establishment and conservative donor class. But when Bannon’s views line up with those of Republican leaders and donors—not to mention those of Trump—he almost always prevails. If Trump had taken the less extreme course on climate advised by his daughter and son-in-law, he would have been breaking a campaign promise and going against the wishes of the entire G.O.P. leadership. In addition, Trump, who knows little about policy, is famously narcissistic, and, easily influenced by personal slights, reportedly was perturbed by a remark from Emmanuel Macron, the French President, who said he intentionally made a show of forcefully shaking Trump’s hand at the recent G7 summit. Trump also reportedly believed that angering Europe was a “secondary benefit” of pulling out of the accord. Given these circumstances, Bannon could not have had a stronger hand to play in this fight. Still, the climate decision is ultimately the responsibility of Trump himself, not of any single adviser. Trump generally makes decisions that align with Bannon’s views not because he is being manipulated by him but because he agrees with him. Ryan Lizza