The White House's failure of self-awareness

The sun rises near the White House on Nov. 8, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty)
The sun rises near the White House on Nov. 8, 2016 in Washington, DC. 

Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) raised the volume on their criticisms of Donald Trump yesterday, raising eyebrows throughout the political world, though the White House wasn't impressed. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in apparent reference to Flake's remarks, told reporters yesterday:

"I thought that his attacks and a lot of the comments that he made -- I don't have a readout in front of me, but as I was watching it, I noticed that a lot of the language, I didn't think, was befitting of the Senate floor."

A day earlier, Sanders appeared at a forum, where she complained about the tenor of some White House correspondents' questions. "I do think that the tone matters," she said.

Listening to this, I couldn't help but wonder: has Sarah Huckabee Sanders met Donald Trump? Because if there's one area this White House should avoid complaining about, appropriate "language" and "tone" probably top the list.

And yet, these failures of self-awareness have become a staple of Trump World. Last week, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly complained that women are too often treated dishonorably, Gold Star families are no longer seen as sacred, and the deaths of U.S. servicemen and women are sometimes exploited for political purposes.

Kelly seemed wholly unaware of the fact that his boss has bragged about his own sexual misconduct towards women, feuded needlessly with a Gold Star family, and has exploited fallen soldiers for political purposes.

Even First Lady Melania Trump this week participated in an event intended to discourage bullying. And while that's certainly a worthy cause, she happens to be married to the nation's most notorious bully.

In isolation, none of these sentiments from people close to the president are necessarily mistaken. Tone does matter. The deaths of U.S. servicemen and women shouldn't be exploited for political purposes. Bullying is wrong.

But for these messages to come from Trump World is plainly laughable.