34% staff turnover at White House

Working at the White House will always be high pressure and hard. This seems to be more so under Donald trump’s presidency, where there has been an unusually high staff turnover of 34%, and many positions remain vacant.

NY Times: A Whirlwind Envelops the White House, and the Revolving Door Spins

The doors at the White House have been swinging a lot lately. A deputy chief of staff moved on. A speechwriter resigned. The associate attorney general stepped down. The chief of staff offered to quit. And that was just Friday.

All of that came after the departure of Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary who cleared out his office last week amid accusations of spousal abuse. The White House had overlooked reported problems with his security clearance last year in part, officials said, because of a reluctance to lose yet another senior aide, particularly one seen as so professional and reliable.

An eventful week.

More than a year into his administration, President Trump is presiding over a staff in turmoil, one with a 34 percent turnover rate, higher than any White House in decades. He has struggled to fill openings, unwilling to hire Republicans he considers disloyal and unable to entice Republicans who consider him unstable. Those who do come to work for him often do not last long, burning out from a volatile, sometimes cutthroat environment exacerbated by tweets and subpoenas.

“We have vacancies on top of vacancies,” said Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who has studied White House turnover over the last six administrations. “You have initial vacancies, you have people who left in the first year and now you have people who are leaving in the second year.”

According to a report by Ms. Tenpas, Mr. Trump’s 34 percent turnover rate in his first year is more than three times as high as President Barack Obama’s in the same period and twice as high as President Ronald Reagan’s, which until now was the modern record-holder. Of 12 positions deemed most central to the president, only five are still filled by the same person as when Mr. Trump took office.

Mr. Trump is on his second press secretary, his second national security adviser and his third deputy national security adviser. Five different people have been named communications director or served in the job in an acting capacity. The president has parted ways with his chief strategist, health secretary, several deputy chiefs of staff and his original private legal team. He is on his second chief of staff — and some wonder whether a third may be in the offing soon.

Some administration officials privately spend much of their time trying to figure out how to leave without looking disloyal or provoking an easily angered president. Others, like Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, stubbornly resist what seem like clear signals that they are no longer welcome.

It is a mixture of staff wanting to leave, and Trump wanting staff to leave.

Grueling in the best of times, an administration job now seems even less appealing to many potential recruits. Republican operatives said they worry not only about the pressure-cooker, soap-opera atmosphere and the danger of being drawn into the special counsel investigation of Russia’s election interference but also about hurting their careers after the White House.

“There isn’t a huge appetite from many Republicans on the outside to explore job opportunities in this administration,” said Ryan Williams, a former spokesman for Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee. “While there are a lot of vacancies and usually a position in the White House is one of the most prestigious jobs in Washington, that’s just not the feeling with this administration, given the turmoil and the chaos.”

The ‘You’re Fired!” reputation of Trump probably doesn’t help.

The staff churn will make a difficult job harder, for the President, and for the staff that remain working for him.

White House resignation after abuse claims

Another example of abuse claims in the US escalating into a big story, with potentially disproportionate consequences. Rob Porter, a high ranking staff member in the White House, has resigned after two ex-wives publicly accused him of abuse. I don’t think there’s any indication that Trump is involved in this to any extent.

AXIOS: White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigns amid abuse allegations

White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned today after his two ex-wives came forward with abuse allegations.

The allegations:

  • Porter’s first wife, Colbie Holderness, alleged in an interview published Wednesday by the Daily Mail that he kicked her on their honeymoon, progressing to choking and punching her in the face. She provided pictures that were published with the story.
  • Porter’s second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, told the Daily Mail earlier this weekthat he pulled her naked from the shower shortly after their first anniversary, and that he was verbally abusive. The Daily Mail also obtained a police complaint from 2010 of Porter allegedly punching the glass on a door at their home, which led to her filing a temporary protective order.
  • Willoughby told the Daily Mail that the FBI had interviewed her, along with Holderness. The Daily Mail claimed sources told them that Porter’s “dark past” was the reason for his failure to secure security clearances.

Porter’s statement:

“These outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described. I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.”

“My commitment to public service speaks for itself. I have always put duty to country first and treated others with respect. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served in the Trump Administration and will seek to ensure a smooth transition when I leave the White House.”

I think that it’s generally unwise to take sides in domestic disputes when you don’t know exactly what has happened, but the White House is strongly backing Porter.

Kelly and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Porter on Tuesday:

Kelly on Porter: “a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him.”

Sanders on Porter: “someone of the highest integrity and exemplary character.”

It’s possible for someone to be professional and effective in a public position, but an arsehole in private.

Does what Porter has been accused of deserve this level of attention? We are in an era when the consequences of past abuse can be huge, and possibly disproportionate to the alleged abuse.

And of course we should have concerns about the possible use of abuse claims to unfairly attack people that have not been found guilty.

Against that abuse had been swept under too many carpets for too long and it was overdue for proper exposure and redress – as long as that redress is based on proven guilt and is reasonably proportionate to the offences.

In this case the claims against Porter look authentic enough. He has a right to defend himself, but denial has long been a part of the cover up of abuses, so he has a problem.

The White House has clearly taken sides. This may or may not be unwise and misguided, but it’s fair to ask questions of White House staff, as Chris Cillizza does: 6 questions about Rob Porter the White House needs to answer

  1. Who knew about this? We know from CNN reporting that “senior White House officials” — including chief of staff John Kelly — knew the basic outlines of the allegations against Porter. Who other than Kelly knew? And what, if anything, did they say or do?
  2. What did Kelly know — and when? It’s clear that Kelly was aware of the accusations against Porter as far back as last fall. But what, exactly, did he know? And when did he learn the severity of what Porter is alleged to have done? Kelly loyalists sought to cover for the chief of staff on Wednesday night, insisting that he was taken aback by the picture of one of Porter’s ex-wives with a black eye — and that no one, Kelly, included, knew the extent of what was being alleged until the past 24 hours.
  3. Did the FBI alert the White House to Porter’s issues? And when? Both of Porter’s ex-wives talked to the FBI about the alleged abuse as part of his background check. Did the FBI alert Kelly — or anyone else in the White House — to the seriousness of the allegations? Is that how Kelly and the other senior White House staffers knew about it? If not, why not?
  4. How was Porter doing his job without a full security clearance? …how can someone in that senior a position not have a full security clearance? It’s been a year. Wouldn’t that raise some red flags for Kelly and others in the White House? And how, logistically speaking, could Porter do his job without a security clearance?
  5. Why was Hope Hicks involved in crafting the Kelly statement? Hicks and Porter are romantically involved. Which makes it very odd that she was part of a small group tasked with writing a statement from Kelly that offered a full-throated defense of Porter.
    This is that statement: “Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him.”
    It’s that statement that Kelly kind of, sort of walked back on Wednesday night. But couldn’t anyone see how Hicks writing it might be sort of a conflict?
  6. How much did Trump know and how did he react? According to CNN reporting, Trump was informed of the allegations around Porter earlier this week when the Daily Mail story broke. But, what, exactly was he told? And, what was his reaction? Did he support the full-throated defense of Porter from Kelly? Did he even know about it? Did he urge Kelly to have that response? Or did Trump want Porter out? If he did, why didn’t it happen? (Remember that Porter resigned. He wasn’t fired.)

While this is a serious issue for Porter and his two ex-wives, it hardly warrants becoming a serious national issue. Unless the White House are trying to cover up for and defend Porter, if he is guilty? Their support of Porter is somewhat complicated by Hicks’ romantic involvement.

It’s also fair to ask why this has become an issue now, when the alleged offences happened many years ago.

Is anyone guilty of some sort of past abuse, or perceived or alleged abuse, fair game if they are in a prominent position?

In some ways I think that disproportionate consequences are necessary to bring an insidious problem out in the open and deal to it. Many people have suffered more than they should have through suppression of proper redress.

But there’s a difficult line between dealing with the problem belatedly but fairly, and unfairly, and complicated by widely different circumstances of each case.

The brutal way politics is done in the US complicates things even further.

Addressing abuses is long overdue, and some victims will be vindicated and feel that at last justice is done, but there’s likely to be some casualties along the way.

Bannon backtracks bigly

After cannoning into the Trump White House, in what looked like a payback for being sacked, Steve Bannon has backtracked bigly in a belated attempt to stem the blowing up of his ambitions.

This follows the release of Michael Wolff’s book ‘Fire and Fury’, which lifted the lid on White House dysfunction revealing details about a train wreck administration that didn’t shock because much of it was known or suspected already.

The President appears to be going nuclear on Bannon, rendering him toxic waste politically.


Axios Exclusive: Bannon apologizes

Steve Bannon is trying to make amends with the Trump family, providing a statement to Axios that expresses “regret” to President Trump and praises his son, Donald Trump Jr.

  • “Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man. He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around.”
  • “My support is also unwavering for the president and his agenda — as I have shown daily in my national radio broadcasts, on the pages of Breitbart News and in speeches and appearances from Tokyo and Hong Kong to Arizona and Alabama.”
  • “President Trump was the only candidate that could have taken on and defeated the Clinton apparatus. I am the only person to date to conduct a global effort to preach the message of Trump and Trumpism; and remain ready to stand in the breach for this president’s efforts to make America great again.”
  • “My comments about the meeting with Russian nationals came from my life experiences as a Naval officer stationed aboard a destroyer whose main mission was to hunt Soviet submarines to my time at the Pentagon during the Reagan years when our focus was the defeat of ‘the evil empire’ and to making films about Reagan’s war against the Soviets and Hillary Clinton’s involvement in selling uranium to them.”
  • “My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr.”
  • “Everything I have to say about the ridiculous nature of the Russian ‘collusion’ investigation I said on my 60 Minutes interview. There was no collusion and the investigation is a witch hunt.”
  • “I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency.”

Sounds like regret his blasting of the Trumps has backfired and destroyed his relationships with the White House, the Republicans, major funders and possibly with Breitbart, but it is probably too little, too late to stem the damage.

Bannon’s full statement (five days after the book bombshell hit):

“Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man. He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around.

My support is also unwavering for the president and his agenda — as I have shown daily in my national radio broadcasts, on the pages of Breitbart News and in speeches and appearances from Tokyo and Hong Kong to Arizona and Alabama. President Trump was the only candidate that could have taken on and defeated the Clinton apparatus. I am the only person to date to conduct a global effort to preach the message of Trump and Trumpism; and remain ready to stand in the breech for this president’s efforts to make America great again.

My comments about the meeting with Russian nationals came from my life experiences as a Naval officer stationed aboard a destroyer whose main mission was to hunt Soviet submarines to my time at the Pentagon during the Reagan years when our focus was the defeat of ‘the evil empire’ and to making films about Reagan’s war against the Soviets and Hillary Clinton’s involvement in selling uranium to them.

My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr.

Everything I have to say about the ridiculous nature of the Russian ‘collusion’ investigation I said on my 60 Minutes interview. There was no collusion and the investigation is a witch hunt.

I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency.”

It sounds like grovelling.

But Axios’ Jonathan Swan reported last night:

Trump has been working the phones over the past several days, telling allies they need to choose between him and Bannon.

And in typical fashion Trump has given Bannon a kicking on Twitter:

A split like this won’t do the future political ambitions of Trump and especially Bannon any good.

Trump administration reversal on Paris climate agreement

WSJ: Trump Administration Won’t Withdraw from Paris Climate Deal

Trump administration officials said Saturday the U.S. wouldn’t pull out of the Paris Agreement, offering to re-engage in the international deal to fight climate change, according to the European Union’s top energy official.

The shift from President Donald Trump’s decision in June to renegotiate the landmark accord or craft a new deal came during a meeting of more than 30 ministers led by Canada, China and the European Union in Montreal.

“The U.S. has stated that they will not renegotiate the Paris accord, but they will try to review the terms on which they could be engaged under this agreement,” European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said.

Each country already had flexibility over how the dealt with their commitments under the agreement.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

White House senior adviser Everett Eissenstat unveiled the U.S. plan, according to an official at Saturday’s gathering, as Ottawa, Beijing and Brussels accelerate their joint effort to minimize the fallout from a potential U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement.

All eyes on Twitter to see what Trump thinks?

Bannon leaving White House

The revolving door at the White House will slap Steve Bannon on the backside as he leaves in another turnover of senior staff.

Bannon’s association with Trump, especially his appointment as a senior White House adviser, has always been controversial.

Is this a clean up of someone unsuitable for his position, or the exit of someone else  disillusioned with the potential of Trump’s power?

Fox News: Steve Bannon out at the White House

The White House confirmed in a brief statement that Bannon, a hardcore populist who often sparred with his West Wing colleagues, would make Friday his last day — just over a year after he joined the Trump presidential campaign.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”

One White House aide told Fox News the departure was a long time coming, and that Bannon actually submitted his resignation in writing two weeks ago.

This would have been just days after Kelly joined as chief of staff. Kelly was said to have been the driving force in the ouster of former communications director Anthony Scaramucci, and speculation swiftly centered on Bannon as perhaps the next one to go.

Sources say Bannon has become increasingly isolated in the White House. Adding to the pressure, some critics also publicly attacked Bannon in the wake of last weekend’s Charlottesville violence, in which a counter-protester was killed at a white nationlist rally. Trump came under intense criticism for his response to that violence, and some blamed Bannon for the tone — though it’s unclear how much influence he had in any of Trump’s remarks.

Earlier this week, Bannon gave a candid interview to a liberal magazine where he slammed some of his adversaries inside the administration.

Speaking to The American Prospect, Bannon contradicted the administration’s statements on North Korea. He said despite threats to attack the regime, “There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday rebuffed those remarks.

Bannon’s controversial comments in the interview last week seem to have been made with the knowledge that he would be leaving  Donald Trump’s administration.

Trump briefly addressed the speculation about Bannon’s future during a wide-ranging Q&A with reporters at Trump Tower on Tuesday afternoon.

“I like Mr. Bannon, he’s a friend of mine,” Trump said, while downplaying his impact in the 2016 campaign. “I like him. He’s a good man. He’s not a racist … but we’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.”

The departure eased criticism of the administration only slightly.

On Thursday, longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone wrote a column saying that while he liked Bannon, he thought it was time for him to go.

“I am one who had publicly defended Bannon from false charges of racism and anti-Semitism yet I have concluded he is a spent force, never being willing to spend his political capital to help his friends and in some cases helping empower the very globalists he claims to oppose,” Stone said.

It is being reported that Bannon will go back to Breitbart News.

More from NY Times:  Stephen Bannon Out at the White House After Turbulent Run

Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled chief strategist who helped President Trump win the 2016 election but clashed for months with other senior West Wing advisers, is leaving his post, a White House spokeswoman announced Friday.

Earlier on Friday, the president had told senior aides that he had decided to remove Mr. Bannon, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion. But a person close to Mr. Bannon insisted that the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week. But the move was delayed after the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va.

The loss of Mr. Bannon, the right-wing nationalist who helped propel some of Mr. Trump’s campaign promises into policy reality, raises the potential for the president to face criticism from the conservative news media base that supported him over the past year.

Mr. Bannon’s many critics bore down after the violence in Charlottesville. Outraged over Mr. Trump’s insistence that “both sides” were to blame for the violence that erupted at a white nationalist rally, leaving one woman dead, human rights activists demanded that the president fire so-called nationalists working in the West Wing. That group of hard-right populists in the White House is led by Mr. Bannon.

More on Bannon’s interview a few days ago.

Mr. Bannon’s dismissal followed an Aug. 16 interview he initiated with a writer with whom he had never spoken, with the progressive publication The American Prospect. In it, Mr. Bannon mockingly played down the American military threat to North Korea as nonsensical: “Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”

He also bad-mouthed his colleagues in the Trump administration, vowed to oust a diplomat at the State Department and mocked officials as “wetting themselves” over the consequences of radically changing trade policy.

Of the far right, he said, “These guys are a collection of clowns,” and he called it a “fringe element” of “losers.”

“We gotta help crush it,” he said in the interview, which people close to Mr. Bannon said he believed was off the record.

Privately, several White House officials said that Mr. Bannon appeared to be provoking Mr. Trump and that they did not see how the president could keep him on after the interview was published.

If Bannon had already handed in his resignation the interview may have been a parting shot.

Is the White House gradually becoming a part of the Swamp?

Scaramucci dumped

Anthony Scarramucci has already been dumped from the role of White House communications director, 12 days after his appointment was announced and before he actually took over the position.

Scaramucci went rogue last week, but lasted long enough in the limelight to stick a dagger into Reince Priebus who was finished off as Chief of Staff by Trump.

NY Times: Trump Removes Anthony Scaramucci From Communications Director Role

President Trump has decided to remove Anthony Scaramucci from his position as communications director, three people close to the decision said Monday, relieving him just days after Mr. Scaramucci unloaded a crude verbal tirade against other senior members of the president’s senior staff.

The decision to remove Mr. Scaramucci, who had boasted about reporting directly to the president, not the chief of staff, John F. Kelly, came at Mr. Kelly’s request, the people said. Mr. Kelly made clear to members of the White House staff at a meeting Monday morning that he is in charge.

Disapproval of Trump has reached a near record high of 56.1%, with 39.2% still approving on the RCP average.

US general discussion

News or views or issues from the USA.USFlag

The White House is seeking suggestions via an online survey on “ways to reorganize the executive branch and eliminate unnecessary agencies”.

Reorganizing the Executive Branch: We Need Your Input!

On March 13th, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order that will make the Federal government more efficient, effective, and accountable to you, the American people. This Executive Order directs the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to present the President with a plan that recommends ways to reorganize the executive branch and eliminate unnecessary agencies.

President Trump wants to hear your ideas and suggestions on how the government can be better organized to work for the American people.

Getting ideas and views from the public is good in a democracy, but a self-selecting online survey won’t give an accurate idea of what the public overall want.

It is fine to get ideas, but is no good as a measurement of public opinion.

The fine print of the survey:

The White House welcomes and values all comments from the public in response to the request for improvements in the organization and functioning of the Executive Branch. The White House may not respond to every comment that is submitted and submissions do not bind the Office of Management and Budget or the Administration to further action. The United States Government reserves full rights to use, copy, or distribute submissions for its purposes without compensation or approval on the part of the submitter. Because your comment may be made available to the public, you are responsible for ensuring that your submissions are free of confidential information, such as personally identifiable information, copyright or other intellectual property restrictions.

By submitting, you agree to receive White House emails about this and other issues.

That last paragraph may raise some concerns – it looks like the survey could be used for email harvesting. That may put some people off submitting on the survey, which may skew the numbers.

US discussion – Bannon off NSC

News or views or issues from the USA.USFlag

Steve Bannon, ex-Breitbart CEO and now chief strategist for Donald Trump, was controversially appointed to the National Security Council, but has now been removed from that position.

Fox News: Steve Bannon removed from National Security Council

President Trump’s controversial chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, was removed from the National Security Council on Wednesday, Fox News confirmed.

Bannon was put on the NSC’s “Principals Committee” as a check on former National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn to make sure Flynn carried through with a directive to depoliticize the NSC, a senior administration official told Fox News.

That’s more than ironic given how political Bannon is.

Bannon’s promotion to a regular NSC seat proved to be a contentious move, with detractors questioning why a political adviser was being given a permanent voice on security issues.

Bannon only attended one meeting of the Principals Committee and Flynn was fired from his role in mid February after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he had with a Russian official.

With McMaster replacing Flynn, Trump saw no need for Bannon to stay on the committee as a check on Flynn, the official said.

Bannon is still permitted to go to NSC meetings.

It sounds like Bannon was some sort of a political enforcer on the NSC, and is still hovering.

Bloomberg: Bannon Taken Off Trump National Security Council in Shake-Up

President Donald Trump reorganized his National Security Council on Wednesday, removing chief strategist Stephen Bannon from a key committee and restoring the roles of top intelligence and defense officials, according to a person familiar with the decision and a notice published in the Federal Register.

The realignment increases the influence of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, whose public stances were sometimes at odds with those of Bannon. In addition to gaining greater control over the NSC, McMaster will have the Homeland Security Council under his authority.

Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, is one of Trump’s most trusted and controversial advisers. He channeled the populist and nationalist sentiment that propelled Trump’s presidential campaign. His placement on the NSC committee drew criticism from some members of Congress and Washington’s foreign policy establishment who said it risked politicizing the security advice provided to the president.

A White House official portrayed the change as a natural progression rather than a demotion for Bannon. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, contended that Bannon was placed on the committee in part to monitor Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and never attended a meeting. He’s no longer needed with McMaster in charge of the council, the official said.

The Fox News report says he attended one meeting.

Still, his departure from the NSC role was applauded by some Republicans as well as Democrats. Republican Represenative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida called it “welcome news” in a tweet.


US businesses versus Trump

Donald Trump may be starting to find out that what may seem simple clampdowns on travel for ‘security’ reasons can have wide ranging effects that the new White House strategists may not have foreseen.

Trump now has more than a few judges opposing his travel restrictions, he now has many large US businesses challenging him legally.

The companies include Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook,Twitter, Intel, eBay, Netflix, Uber, Amazon and Expedia.

RNZ: Apple, Google, Facebook among 100 firms opposing Trump’s travel ban

Apple, Google and Microsoft have joined a legal brief opposing US President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban, arguing it “inflicts significant harm on American business.”

The brief was signed by nearly 100 companies including Facebook, Twitter, Intel , eBay, Netflix and Uber, as well as non-tech companies such as Levi Strauss and Chobani.

The document is an amicus brief, which allows parties not directly involved in a case but who feel they are affected by it, to give their view.

Mr Trump’s executive order, the most contentious policy move of his first two weeks in office, faces crucial legal hurdles. It had temporarily barred entry to the United States by people from seven mostly Muslim countries, as well as suspending the US refugee programme.

A federal judge in Seattle on Friday blocked the move, and the Trump administration has a deadline on Monday (6pm Tuesday NZT) to justify the action.

“The order represents a significant departure from the principles of fairness and predictability that have governed the immigration system of the United States for more than fifty years,” the brief from the companies stated.

“The order inflicts significant harm on American business, innovation, and growth as a result,” it added.

“Immigrants or their children founded more than 200 of the companies on the Fortune 500 list.”

Immigrants and especially the next generation are often cited as a major terrorism risk, with scant evidence beyond a few isolated examples.

On the other hand, in reality land, immigrants and their families have been a huge part of American success for a long time.

US tech companies, which employ many foreign-born nationals, have been among the most vocal groups in speaking out against Mr Trump’s travel order.

Amazon.com and Expedia, both based in Washington state, supported the Seattle lawsuit, asserting that the travel restrictions harmed their businesses.

It’s not just those who are directly restricted that cause problems. The uncertainties about entry to the US and about immigration is likely to cause many more people to reconsider the US as a destination.

Unforeseen effects and unintended consequences may end up becoming big issues for a very inexperienced White House.

And Trump’s habit of shooting from the hip at anyone who criticises him or opposes what he is trying to do may lead to mayhem, including a significant loss of business confidence in the US.

May: Trump “100% in favour of Nato”

In a visit to the White House UK Prime Minister Theresa May says that Donald Trump is 100% in favour of Nato.

From the Guardian: Donald Trump ‘100% behind Nato’, says Theresa May at joint White House press conference

Donald Trump starts. He says the UK/US relationship has been a force for peace. We pledge our support for this relationship, he says.

He says the US respects the UK’s right to self-determination.

A free UK is a blessing to the world, he says.

Trump calls May “Madam Prime Minister”.

Great days lie ahead for our two peoples, he says.

He thanks May for coming. It has been a great honour.

On torture and on Russia:

Q: You say torture works, you have praised Russia, you suggest there should be punishment for abortion. What do you say to people worried about you?

Turning to May, Trump jokes: “This was your choice for a question.”

Trump says General Mattis, the new defence secretary, has said he does not believe in torture. He does not necessarily agree, Trump says. But he say Mattis will over-ride Trump on this. Trump will rely on him. But Mattis is the “general’s general”.

He says he does not know President Putin. He hopes they have a good relationship. He wants them to go after Isis together. How the relationship works out, he doesn’t know. Sometimes he thinks he will like someone, and he doesn’t like them at all. And sometimes he likes people he did not expect to like.

On Mexico:

Trump says he thinks he has a good relationship with the Mexican president. But the US cannot continue to lose jobs. The US will renegotiate trade deals. That will be good for both countries. His call with the Mexican president today was very friendly. They will negotiate over the coming months.

What happened publicly yesterday between the US and Mexican presidents didn’t look like good relationships.

Q: You say we will have a good trade deal, and you support Nato. But you keep changing your position. And how will the two of you get on because you are so differrent?

Trump says he thinks he and May can get on. He says he is not as brash as people think.

He denies changing his stance. His views on trade have been the same for years. When he visited Scotland he said Brexit would happen. He was scorned in the press. But it happened, he says.

Brexit will be good for the UK, he says. It will be able to make its own trade deal.

He had a bad experience in his business life getting approvals from the EU.

(Is this a reference to the planning application in Ireland that he spoke about in his interview with Michael Gove?)

May says she and Trump want to put the interests of ordinary people first, the people who feel the odds are stacked against them. She and Trump both feel that these people deserve a fairer deal.

Perhaps May will be keeping an eye on Twitter and listening to see what Sean Spicer has to say over the next day or two.