John Kelly arrives at the White House facing the Herculean task of restoring order to a crisis-ridden presidency, and he’ll have one advantage former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus never did: the backing of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, senior advisers with unfettered access to the Oval Office, supported Kelly’s selection as chief of staff after losing confidence in Priebus, said an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Trump’s advisers and supporters are guardedly optimistic that the retired Marine Corps general can rein in a West Wing full of competing personalities who regularly sidestepped Priebus.
Kelly has been promised full authority over the president’s staff, according to two senior White House officials, who requested anonymity to discuss internal personnel matters. Still, it’s unclear how that will play out within a White House where many of Trump’s aides have grown accustomed to free and easy access to the president. Lacking support from Trump, Priebus was unable to combat the infighting, unauthorized leaks and lack of message discipline that have thus far stalled the president’s agenda and frustrated Republicans in Congress.
But Kelly probably won’t have any more success than Priebus in curbing Trump’s own impulse to let his itchy Twitter finger get him off-message. He may not even try. The president has cast aside Priebus and other establishment voices in his orbit, elevating instead those like Anthony Scaramucci, his new communications director, who indulge Trump’s firm belief that to retain his base support, he must be himself.
Kelly, 67, represents a course correction after Priebus proved ineffective, said Chris Ruddy, chief executive officer of Newsmax and a Trump friend. Priebus declined to comment.
“The president is about performance. He rates everyone, including himself,” Ruddy said…