Changes in Trump Cab­i­net, staff

Tampa Bay Times - - Front Page - Times wires

Pres­i­dent Trump sub­mits nom­i­na­tions for at­tor­ney gen­eral, U.N. am­bas­sador and chair­man of the Joint Chiefs. Mean­while, chief of staff John Kelly is likely on the way out.

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Fri­day ac­cel­er­ated a long-an­tic­i­pated shakeup of his Cab­i­net in the wake of the midterm elec­tions, nam­ing new picks for at­tor­ney gen­eral and U.N. am­bas­sador amid wide­spread spec­u­la­tion that the em­bat­tled White House chief of staff John Kelly could soon de­part.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral

Trump con­firmed his choices of Wil­liam Barr to lead the Jus­tice Depart­ment and Heather Nauert for the United Na­tions post as he left the White House, speak­ing to re­porters over the din of whirring blades from Marine One.

If con­firmed by the Se­nate, Barr will take over for act­ing at­tor­ney gen­eral Matthew Whi­taker. An un­fet­tered Trump in­stalled Whi­taker in place of the ousted Jeff Ses­sions less than 24 hours af­ter the polls closed on Nov. 6 in the first move of an ex­pected over­haul of Cab­i­net sec­re­taries and se­nior White House aides.

Af­ter a CNN re­port Fri­day morn­ing that Kelly could be step­ping down in a mat­ter of days, Trump did not pause long enough to take ques­tions from re­porters, though he teased he would make an­other big per­son­nel an­nounce­ment Satur­day at the Army-Navy game in Philadel­phia.

“I can give you a lit­tle hint: It will have to do with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and suc­ces­sion,” Trump said.

Kelly was not at work Fri­day morn­ing, though an ally said he was sim­ply tak­ing a day off and would be at the White House for a hol­i­day staff din­ner Fri­day night. The lights were off in his West Wing of­fice.

He has not been asked to re­sign, this per­son said, re­quest­ing anonymity to speak can­didly about a per­son­nel mat­ter.

Kelly, a re­tired four-star Marine Corps gen­eral, has been the pres­i­dent’s top aide since late July 2017.

Trump has chafed at Kelly’s man­age­ment style and re­sisted some of his moves to in­still dis­ci­pline in the West Wing and con­tain chaos.

In re­cent months, the chief of staff ’s power has ebbed, with ad­min­is­tra­tion poli­cies and de­ci­sions be­ing guided more by the pres­i­dent’s gut in­stincts than by Kelly’s pro­cesses.

U.N. am­bas­sador

If the Se­nate confirms Nauert, 48, it would el­e­vate a for­eign pol­icy novice into the top ech­e­lons of U.S. diplo­macy as the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion ramps up pres­sure against Iran and de­mands that al­lies take on more re­spon­si­bil­ity for their own se­cu­rity.

Nauert joined the State Depart­ment last year af­ter a ca­reer as an an­chor and cor­re­spon­dent at Fox News with no gov­ern­ment ex­pe­ri­ence. She would re­place Nikki Ha­ley, who was twice elected gov­er­nor of South Carolina but lacked for­eign pol­icy ex­pe­ri­ence.

In her new role, Nauert would be re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing in­ter­na­tional sup­port for eco­nomic sanc­tions against North Korea and con­tin­u­ing the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s strong sup­port for Is­rael in the face of mount­ing scru­tiny at the United Na­tions.

A for­mer news re­porter for ABC, Nauert joined Fox in 1996, orig­i­nally as a cor­re­spon­dent and later as a co-host for Fox and Friends. She left Fox in April 2017.

Trump is one of the show’s big­gest fans, and he of­ten finds in­spi­ra­tion in the hosts’ re­marks as top­ics for his morn­ing tweets.

Joint Chiefs of Staff

Trump is ex­pected to choose the head of the Army to be­come the next chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tap­ping a vol­u­ble and un­con­ven­tional com­bat vet­eran to be­come Amer­ica’s top mil­i­tary of­fi­cer, in­di­vid­u­als fa­mil­iar with White House plans said on Fri­day.

In a move that re­flects his pen­chant for show­man­ship, the pres­i­dent plans to an­nounce his nom­i­na­tion of Gen. Mark Mil­ley at Satur­day’s an­nual Army-Navy foot­ball game, end­ing months of spec­u­la­tion about who will re­place the cur­rent chair­man, Gen. Joseph Dun­ford Jr., who is due to step down next fall.

If con­firmed by the Se­nate, Mil­ley would bring to the job a dis­tin­guished record as a com­man­der in the coun­terin­sur­gency wars of the last two decades. A grad­u­ate of Prince­ton Univer­sity, Mil­ley served as a Green Beret and later com­manded troops in Afghanistan.

As the Army chief, Mil­ley cham­pi­oned a pro­posal to cre­ate spe­cial­ized units to train lo­cal forces in Afghanistan, while also seek­ing to im­prove the Army’s readi­ness as the Pen­tagon re­ori­ents to­ward chal­lenges from Rus­sia and China.

Heather Nauert

Wil­liam Barr

John Kelly

Mark Mil­ley

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