Speed Reads

Say it ain't so

Trump is reportedly sneaking around on his own chief of staff

The ascendance of retired Marine Gen. John Kelly to the role of White House chief of staff was heralded as a much-needed source of discipline in an administration marked by high staff turnover and a presidential Twitter account unfettered by such tediums as business hours, syntax, and grave legal implications. But a new Wall Street Journal report describes President Trump and the first lady circumventing Kelly's orderly ways.

The president has more than once called White House staff "to the private residence in the evening," the Journal reports, presumably after Kelly has gone home for the night. Trump then apparently gives them assignments and asks them to keep Kelly in the dark about the whole thing. On at least one occasion, the story's unnamed sources said, a staffer refused Trump's request to go behind Kelly's back.

First lady Melania Trump is also reportedly bypassing Kelly's management, as Trump family friends who wish to bend the president's ear without going through normal White House scheduling channels — over which Kelly exercises significant control — will contact Melania to pass a message along to her husband. In a statement to the Journal, the first lady's office said this is "fake news."