Speed Reads

Trump White House

Can new Chief of Staff John Kelly tame Trump?

New White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is "the first former general to occupy the gatekeeper's post since Alexander Haig played that role for President Richard M. Nixon during Watergate," The New York Times notes, and the hopes that he would be able to bring order to President Trump's chaotic White House were bolstered when Kelly fired garrulous White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci as one of his first official acts. But after less than a day on the job, the Times reports, "several administration aides fretted that the impetuous president and the disciplined Marine were already on a collision course that could ultimately doom the unlikely partnership."

Before accepting the chief of staff position, after several weeks of entreaties from Trump, Kelly got the president's assurance that unlike Reince Priebus, his predecessor, he would have the traditional full control over the stream of people and information heading to the president, with all West Wing aides and advisers passing policy proposals, personnel advice, and counsel from outsiders through him. "But the president gave Mr. Priebus many of the same assurances of control, and then proceeded to undercut and ignore him," the Times reports, "to the point where Mr. Priebus often positioned himself at the door of the Oval Office to find out whom the president was talking to."

Despite Trump's assurances, it is unclear "whether Kelly will be able to curb the president's inclination to subvert pecking orders, his tendency to encourage rivalries among his staff, and his insistence on managing his own message through social media in ways that have often undermined his aides' strategic planning," The Washington Post reports. Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax Media and a friend of Trump, isn't sure that Trump will change so easily. "This is a president that loves feedback and information," he told the Post, "and he doesn't like getting it through a chain of command."