New Chief of Staff Reins in White House Aides and Trump’s Tweets
On his fifth day on the job as Donald Trump’s new chief of staff, John Kelly gathered about 200 White House aides for a meeting where he spelled out in blunt terms the way things are going to work in the West Wing he now oversees. The retired Marine Corps fourstar general said he didn’t care whether they had been part of the Trump campaign or had joined the administration from Capitol Hill or another corner of the political world, according to people who attended the meeting. They all work for the president now, he told them, and they had to act as one team. Echoing the Marines’ credo of “God, Country, Corps,” Kelly said he expects all of them to put country first, the president second, and their own needs and priorities last. He stressed work ethic. And he sharply warned them against leaking, an obsession of Trump’s. Even if it may seem innocuous to pass along some bit of classified information to someone without a clearance, he said, it’s a crime. Perhaps even more important, Kelly is testing his authority to tame T r u mp’s s o me - t i me s reckless tweeti ng habits. While Kelly isn’t vetting every presidential tweet, Trump has shown a willingness to consult with his chief of staff before hitting “send” on certain missives that might cause an international uproar or lead to unwelcome distractions, according to three people familiar with the interactions. Kelly has been “offering a different way to say the same thing,” the person said.
Trump has made it clear, however, that he reserves the right to ignore advice on tweets. On August 3, Trump lashed out at Congress for passing a bill that limited the president’s power to lift sanctions on Russia. “Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can’t even give us HCare!” Since then, most of Trump’s tweets have been more buttoned down — thanking supporters or praising himself for the strong stock market.
“His influence has been felt and seen immediately,” Anita McBride, a former chief of staff to first lady Laura Bush and White House personnel director who worked for nine White House chiefs of staff in three Republican administrations, said of Kelly. “If there’s no order and process and structure in the West Wing, no president is going to be successful.”
Kelly insists that anyone who wants to see the president now must go through him John Kelly