But after eight months in office, that pledge has become a favorite punchline on the web. Rather than a home to efficient, skilled operators, the Trump White House has been marked by an eccentric swirl of office politics run amok and off-hours fits of pique.
Here’s a quick skip through the profound — and very real — weirdness that has colored much of the current administration.
When Trump officials go missing
No one hides from the press (or the President) better than Trump’s people.
“So he stood in the back, right in front of the drapes,” Wittes wrote, “hoping Trump wouldn’t notice him camouflaged against the wall.”
Alas, the President caught a glimpse. “Oh, and there’s Jim,” Trump said. “He’s become more famous than me!”
Former chief of staff Reince Priebus’s departure from his job, ditched on the tarmac after a ride on Air Force One, was an uncomfortable affair. Perhaps it would have been less so if there was a large trash can there to obscure reporters’ view.
Or is it — as the critics have increasingly suggested — that they are actively trying to stay out of the less flattering headlines?
Trump has repeatedly found himself in odd situations with the biggest star of all: the sun.
He most recently took on a solar eclipse — training the presidential retinas directly on it.
According to the press pool on hand that afternoon, “White House aides standing beneath the Blue Room Balcony shouted ‘don’t look'” as Trump, well, looked.
Before that, there was the famous “orb.” During his first visit to the Gulf as President, Trump gathered with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to paw an odd-looking, glowing sphere.
As it turns out, this was less a star than some kind of incandescent globe, meant to signify, as noted in the Saudi embassy tweet, some kind of new joint effort to combat terrorism.
Does it please the President?
Doing Trump’s bidding, however ridiculous, is a core competency in this White House. Spicer’s thirst for the job was tested on his first weekend, when he declared the audience for the previous day’s festivities the largest “to ever witness an inauguration, period.”
Spicer’s rant was a signal of things to come. The next day. Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway went on NBC to defend her colleague’s assertions, up to a point.
“You’re saying it’s a falsehood,” she told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd. “And they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary — gave alternative facts.”