President Trump Runs His White House His Way
- When President Donald Trump made a congratulatory phone call to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly was not on the line.
- When our President tapped John Bolton to be his next national security adviser, Gen. Kelly was not in the room.
- When President Trump spent a Mar-a-Lago weekend thinking about immigration and trade, Gen. Kelly was not in sight.
President Donald Trump disagrees with the advice of his Chief of Staff and who said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt should be let go, Friday it was reported that Chief of Staff John Kelly told President Trump last week he thought Scott Pruitt should be fired over allegations that he violated ethics guidelines. President Trump is standing by Mr. Pruitt, who has cut regulations at the EPA, just a President told him to do.
Retired US Marine Corps 4-Star General Kelly, was once tasked to bring order to the Trump West Wing, has faded, his influence clouded, his word less-trusted by staff and his guidance less attended by our President.
Emboldened in his job, President Trump has rebelled against Gen. Kelly’s restrictions and mused about doing away with the Chief of Staff post entirely. It is all leading White House staffers and President Trump’s allies to believe that Gen Kelly is marching in place, aka working on borrowed time.
In recent weeks, President Trump has governed at breakneck pace, ousting aides and issuing surprise policy announcements on Twitter, recreating the fast and furious feel of his 1st months in office.
Gen. Kelly’s allies maintain that his retreat is strategic.
They suggest that the belief that Gen. Kelly was President Trump’s savior was an overstated idea all along and that the Chief of Staff is now content to loosen the reins and allow an increasingly comfortable President to govern from his gut.
But those close to the President say that President Trump has increasingly expressed fatigue at Gen. Kelly’s attempts to shackle him and that while President Trump is not ready to fire Gen. Kelly, he has begun gradually freezing him out.
Recently, HeffX-LTN learned that President Trump told a confidant that he was “tired of being told no” by Kelly and has instead chosen to simply not tell Kelly things at all, according to a person who was not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
In President Trump’s West Wing, once the rumors begin that an aide’s exit is forthcoming, the black cloud over that staffer never leaves, according to one of the nearly dozen White House aides, former administration officials and outside advisers who spoke to the AP under the same conditions.
As Gen. Kelly’s public profile and behind-the-scenes influence faded, speculation has risen that President Trump’s chaos style could return.
Gen. Kelly was once a fixture at our President’s side, but President Trump has now cut him out of a number of important decisions.
For months, Gen. Kelly made it a practice to listen in to many of the President’s calls, particularly with world leaders. While he is still on the line for some of those conversations, Gen. Kelly was not part of the call made to Putin last month from the White House residence during which President Trump ignored advisers’ advice against congratulating the Russian president on his re-election.
Although Gen. Kelly had agitated for the removal of outgoing national security adviser H.R. McMaster, he counseled President Trump against hiring Bolton, a neo-conservative media commentator.
President Trump did it anyway, offering the job to Amb. Bolton in a 1 on 1 meeting in the Oval Office and telling his Chief of Staff about it later.
As President Trump spent the Easter weekend at his Florida resort and Tweeted about his tariffs plan, Gen. Kelly was not around, thought available by phone.
While Gen. Kelly has fumed about the ethics questions swirling around Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt, President Trump was at least initially more supportive of Mr. Pruitt, telling him, “We’ve got your back.”
The President also has cast aside the constraints John Kelly tried to place on President Trump about whom he could see and speak to. Those restrictions led shunned advisers to try to undermine the Chief of Staff in the press and with President Trump.
For months, former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was barred from the White House, only to return when Gen. Kelly was overruled.
Many in the West Wing believed that Gen. Kelly’s attempts to curtail President Trump’s interactions with Mr. Lewandowski, as well as allies such as David Bossie and Anthony Scaramucci, were always destined to fail and alienate the President, who contemplates recreating the I am in control mode of his winning Presidential campaign and The Trump Tower office.
Gen. Kelly also has clashed with President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, who had his security clearance downgraded after a policy change written by the Chief of Staff.
President Trump’s allies say that Gen. Kelly’s receding power and said he is trying to keep his head down and focus on policy, such as the plan to mobilize the National Guard along the US border with Mexico.
In public, President Trump praises his Chief of Staff, telling Marines in California last month that Gen. Kelly probably “likes what you do better than what he does, but he’s doing a great job.”
Gen. Kelly no longer commands the same respect among some quarters of the staff. His role came under harsh scrutiny this year over his handling of the controversy surrounding ousted White House aide Rob Porter.
Gen. Kelly’s version of events elicited frustration from former communications director Hope Hicks, who had been dating Porter, and dismayed a number of West Wing staffers. That episode frustrated President Trump, who still remains agitated about an TV interview that Gen. Kelly gave months ago where he suggested that President Trump had “evolved” in his thinking about the need for The Wall on the Mexican border.
The retired US Marine 4-Star General took the job last July told pals that he hoped to be on the job for a year.
John Kelly is not likely to make that mark, in the Corp’s that is called Maggies Drawers.
Have a terrific weekend.