I come back to this story from The Washington Post:
In Trump’s White House, aides serve a president who demands absolute loyalty — but who doesn’t always offer it in return. Trump prefers a management style in which even compliments can come laced with a bite, and where enduring snubs and belittling jokes, even in public, is part of the job.
The lead example is Trump's decision to omit Sean Spicer from the group that met with Pope Francis, even though Spicer is a devout Catholic who "was giddy at the thought of meeting" the pontiff. (News reports said that Spicer's presence would have violated Trump's "family-first rule," but "family" in this case included the likes of Keith Schiller, the former Trump bodyguard who delivered the letter firing James Comey to FBI headquarters, and who has become a trusted Trump consigliere. He's not family, at least in the literal sense of the word.)
More on Trump's snubs and slights:
Trump sometimes refers to his 45-year-old chief of staff, Reince Priebus, as “Reince-y,” a diminutive nickname that some aides and outside rivals recount with gleeful relish.
... During an Oval Office meeting about trouble spots abroad, a relatively junior foreign policy staff member prepared to take a seat on the periphery as the president’s top aides, including chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, surrounded him in chairs around the Resolute desk. But the president soon ordered up a change, said someone who witnessed the moment, telling Bannon to give up his seat for the junior staff member and relegating his top strategist to the couch.
More recently, during a lunch with ambassadors from countries on the U.N. Security Council, Trump jokingly polled those in the room on whether they thought U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, seated directly to his right, was doing a good job. “How do you all like Nikki? ” he asked, as she looked on. “Otherwise, she can easily be replaced.”
The Post story quotes a Trump ally:
“I think it’s more New York swagger than he’s trying to belittle them,” said Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax, a conservative media company, and a longtime friend of Trump’s.
"New York swagger"? Nahh. I think this approach to staff relations is more about age than geography, as this spring 2016 segment from Stephen Colbert's show suggests:
Trump's a middle-school bully. It's obvious.
We also get the media's go-to media explanation for all of Trump's bizarre management practices:
Trump’s management style — whether good-natured ribbing or withering comments, depending on one’s perspective — dates to his days as a Manhattan real estate developer, when he enjoyed operating in an environment of competing factions.
Yes -- he likes to have factions fighting with one another. But in an atmosphere of combat, isn't there a strong likelihood that some staffers will feel they're at war with the guy at the top? Especially if he regularly humiliates them?
That wasn't a problem in Trump's businesses -- he could compel employees to sign non-disclosure agreements and, in the event of violations, threaten to ruin their lives with lawsuits. But he can't do that now. So the incessant leaking from the Trump White House should be no surprise.