Do we have rookies in the White House?

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Major League Baseball has an annual training season in Florida.

Maybe President Trump should have gone somewhere outside of Washington to hold tryouts for a month to see who on his team was ready to play in the big leagues.

At least he should have picked some veteran coaches who know how the professional Washington game is played, are loyal to him and who know how to make the White House work smoothly.

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All incoming presidents, even veteran politicians, have trouble with their White House advisers and underlings at first.

But as a political outsider and a disrupter, Trump is facing more trouble than most of his predecessors.

The Democrats, their hysterical pals in the media and the permanent Washington bureaucracy are doing their best to slow him up or bring him down.

But so far Trump – the rookie manager in chief – has been his own worst enemy.

He assembled a White House team made up of third-round draft picks and minor leaguers and put them on the field before he knew whether they could hit a curve or field a hard grounder.

What we’re seeing in the White House – “Leakville,” as I refer to it now – is a bunch of rookies trying to run the most important government operation in the world.

It should never have gotten to this level of ineptitude, President Trump is responsible for it, and only he can fix it.

A large part of his problem is that he doesn’t have a chief of staff in the White House — he has two of them, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon.

Anyone who’s ever managed a Starbucks knows when two or more people are “in charge,” no one is really in charge.

And when two or three people are in charge, then no one is ultimately responsible for anything that happens and chaos and confusion run amok.

The bumbled and hasty rollout of the executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven Muslim countries was a textbook example of what happens when no single person is in charge of the White House staff.

The case of Michael Flynn, Trump’s starting National Security Adviser, was another “rookie mistake” by a staffer that should never have happened.

Flynn should have known better. He wasn’t called up from the Class D Leagues. He had 30 years of exemplary military experience and had worked in the Obama administration.

What was he thinking? What made him believe he had the right to lie to the vice president – if that’s what he really did?

Flynn’s been cut from the team and he’ll be a source of bad PR for Trump for months.

I’d hate to be Sean Spicer, who has to go in front of the Washington press corps and deal with the latest twists in the Flynn case or explain the White House’s bungle of the day.

President Trump is doing fine by holding all those meetings with business executives and foreign leaders and issuing executive orders.

It’s his rookie squad that’s holding him back. They seem more interested in serving their own interests, not his.

It’s now up to the president to find a way to plug up the leaks and put together a competent, loyal and trusted White House staff.

He has to work fast. The regular season is almost a month old and he still doesn’t have a coaching staff or a starting lineup.

And as Manager Trump has already found out the hard way, there are no exhibition games played in the White House.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press).