Dana Milbank: This is no 'rookie mistake.' The Trump team shouldn't even be on the field. – New York News




“I love it.”

That’s how Donald Trump Jr. responded, we now know, to an email last year offering dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government.

What I love is the defense of this attempt by senior Trump campaign officials to receive Russian help in the election. As my colleagues John Wagner and Rosalind Helderman report, presidential advisers are explaining away the meeting with the Russian lawyer as a “rookie mistake” by an “unsophisticated” campaign.

“Rookie mistake”: the all-purpose defense of the Trump White House.

When President Trump failed to support NATO’s collective-defense promise, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called it “a rookie mistake.” After revelations of Trump’s meddling in the FBI’s Russia probe, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) explained that Trump is “new at this.” The rookie-error explanation has been employed to describe Trump’s firing of FBI Director James B. Comey, his handling of health care and his legislative approach.


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There have been enough rookie errors to send this whole team back to Double-A ball. The longer this goes on — we’re now six months into Trump’s term — the less it looks like growing pains than incompetence and mismanagement aggravated by nepotism and dishonesty.

Returning from three weeks abroad, I’ve been catching up on developments at home. These weeks, though highly abnormal by usual standards, were fairly typical of the Trump presidency. Mistakes and outrages are so common that we become numb to them. But stack three weeks of the…

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