“You’re Fired!”: After NBC Report, Will John Kelly Be the Next to Go?
The knives are out for John Kelly in the West Wing.
A new report from NBC News quotes “eight current and former White House officials” who say the chief of staff belittles his aides and insults President Trump behind his back on a regular basis. While the NBC story also quotes four current White House spokespeople who say they haven’t seen Kelly calling Trump an “idiot” or casting himself “as the savior of the country,” that only gives further proof to the idea that there is an internal power struggle developing in the White House…and there is at least one faction that wants to see Kelly hit the road.
“The officials said Kelly portrays himself to Trump administration aides as the lone bulwark against catastrophe, curbing the erratic urges of a president who has a questionable grasp on policy issues and the functions of government,” the NBC News article reports. “He has referred to Trump as an ‘idiot’ multiple times to underscore his point, according to four officials who say they’ve witnessed the comments.”
Kelly himself responded to the story, saying there was no truth at all to the gossip.
“I spend more time with the president than anyone else and we have an incredibly candid and strong relationship,” the Marine general said in a statement. “He always knows where I stand and he and I both know this story is total BS. I am committed to the president, his agenda, and our country. This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration’s many successes.”
Kelly did not respond specifically to one interesting bit of news included in the story, however – that he successfully argued against President Trump withdrawing U.S. troops from South Korea in February. Trump has been highly critical of the U.S. military presence on the Peninsula, particularly in light of the fact that we can’t control immigration at our own southern border. On many occasions he’s said that we would be better off bringing our boys home – a move that may come to pass, depending on how negotiations go with Kim Jong Un in the coming weeks.
Speaking of immigration, it’s also telling that even though three White House spokespeople disagreed with the narrative that Kelly was parading around the West Wing calling himself the last hope of freedom, they did not disagree with the idea that Kelly considered himself instrumental in preventing Trump from agreeing to a DACA compromise that was too soft.
“Kelly held a series of meetings in his office with White House officials during negotiations with lawmakers on funding for the president’s border wall and a resolution on a program — known as DACA — that allows some people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to remain in the country, according to four officials who either attended or were briefed on the meetings,” the NBC story said. “He often used the settings to express concern that Trump would agree to a deal that’s not hardline enough on immigration and criticized the president’s knowledge of the issues to underscore his point, the officials said.”
“He doesn’t even understand what DACA is. He’s an idiot,” Kelly reportedly said in one of those meetings. “We’ve got to save him from himself.”
It could be Kelly himself that needs saving after the president chews over these reports.
Word has it that budget official Mick Mulvaney has his eye on the chief of staff position, and this certainly isn’t the first report that insinuates that both Trump and Kelly have grown tired of working together. It’s disappointing to see this much turnover in the administration, but perhaps this was inevitable given Trump’s inexperience with the Washington world and the multitude of hangers-on who didn’t have his best interests (or his agenda) at heart. We tend to believe that Kelly was closer to the mark than Reince Priebus, but if there is a need for further change, we’re sure the man who made “you’re fired” a national catchphrase won’t hesitate to make it.