Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will step into his new position as White House chief of staff, replacing the ousted Reince Priebus, beginning Monday, The Associated Press reports. He'll be tasked with bringing "military discipline" to a West Wing plagued by feuds, leaks, and power struggles between Trump loyalists and more conventional members of the Republican establishment.
Kelly "knows how to do this: with common sense and good leadership," an unnamed friend of the retired general told The Washington Post, adding, "He won't suffer idiots and fools." Kelly has a reputation for being blunt and outspoken, as well as a history of challenging Congress. He is reportedly favored by President Trump, who labeled Priebus "weak" and ineffective, for his military background and ability to impose order. Because Kelly lacks legislative experience, policy direction may now fall more to Vice President Mike Pence.
In the short term, Kelly will be succeeded at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by Elaine Duke, who is currently deputy secretary and will take on the role of acting secretary until more permanent arrangements are made. DHS is central to many of Trump's policy priorities, including immigration and terrorism, and rumored candidates to fill Kelly's vacancy include Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Bonnie Kristian