New Chief of Staff Reins in White House Aides and Trump’s Tweets

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

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

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