Monday, January 30, 2017

Trump White House Starting Powerful Think Tank

President Donald Trump has not taken a liking to think tanks, but a powerful group of Trump advisors is in the process of starting their own mini-think tank within the White House to act as the go-to policy shop.  Here is more from The New York Times:

...Stephen Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, his senior adviser and son-in-law, are forming what is being loosely called the Strategic Initiatives Group, a mini-think tank within the White House comprising analysts who can grapple with large-scale issues like cybersecurity.
Such a group would have as many as a dozen strategists, and could help to centralize policy-making on some topics by Mr. Bannon and Mr. Kushner. Reince Priebus, the chief of staff, who knows Washington well and who works in conjunction with the two, is likely to run more of the day-to-day operations of the West Wing, according to one person involved in the planning.

Mr. Trump himself is not a fan of think tanks and intellectuals (and has largely been ignoring top think tankers), but many in his Cabinet have close ties to think tanks.

The new internal White House think tank is further evidence that many in the top levels of the White House have a disdain for traditional think tanks and would rather rely on their own ideas, beliefs, and skills to determine policy.

This is more discouraging news for think tanks, which have been mostly ignored and marginalized in the new Trump era, forcing many of the policy shops rethink their missions and significance.