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Hullabaloo


Sunday, December 03, 2017

 

Don't tell Daddy

by digby






Our president is a bad seed:


Chief of Staff John Kelly over the past five months has imposed discipline and rigorous protocols on a freewheeling White House. But President Donald Trump has found the loopholes.

The president on occasion has called White House aides to the private residence in the evening, where he makes assignments and asks them not tell Mr. Kelly about the plans, according to several people familiar with the matter. At least once, aides have declined to carry out the requested task so as not to run afoul of Mr. Kelly, one of these people said.

The president, who values counsel from an informal group of confidants outside the White House, also sometimes bypasses the normal scheduling for phone calls that give other White House staff, including Mr. Kelly, some control and influence over who the president talks to and when.

Instead, some of his friends have taken to calling Melania Trump and asking her to pass messages to her husband, according to two people familiar with the matter. They say that since she arrived in the White House from New York in the summer, the first lady has taken on a more central role as a political adviser to the president.

“If I don’t want to wait 24 hours for a call from the president, getting to Melania is much easier,” one person said.

A spokeswoman for Mrs. Trump said: “This is more fake news and these are more anonymous sources peddling things that just aren’t true. The First Lady is focused on her own work in the East Wing.” The White House declined to provide comment.

Mr. Kelly has frequently said that it is his job to control the White House below the president, rather than the president himself. The president’s penchant for what one confidant dubbed “workarounds” to the new White House protocols shows the limits of Mr. Kelly’s approach.

“John has been successful at putting in place a stronger chain of command in the White House, requiring people to go through him to get to the Oval Office,” said Leon Panetta, a White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton who worked with Mr. Kelly, a four-star Marine general, in the Department of Defense. “The problem has always been whether or not the president is going to accept better discipline in the way he operates. He’s been less successful at that.”

[...]

Since arriving in July, Mr. Kelly has clamped down on a number of practices that aides say made the White House’s internal operations chaotic in the first several months of the Trump presidency. He has told staff there will be no more patching through calls from Trump friends outside the White House who wanted to weigh in on the news; instead they would need appointments. And he stopped aides from wandering into the Oval Office to try to get time with the president.

Mr. Kelly has never aspired to control the president’s Twitter feed, however, which continues to create news, promote the president’s agenda and draw criticism. Just last week, Mr. Trump’s tweets prompted top congressional Democrats to cancel a meeting to discuss the looming deadline for a deal to avoid a government shutdown. He also​ drew a rebuke from British Prime Minister Theresa May for retweeting videos posted by a far-right British nationalist group that purported to show violence committed by Muslims.

On Nov. 12, with many of Mr. Trump’s senior military and diplomatic advisers arguing for diplomacy with North Korea, the president tweeted that the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, was “short and fat.” Asked about the tweet, posted during the president’s trip to Asia, Mr. Kelly shrugged.

“Believe it or not—I don’t follow the tweets,” he said, adding that he urges White House policy staff not to be influenced by the missives and does not himself use Twitter. “We develop policy in the normal traditional staff way.”

Those who have watched the two men interact said their personalities are too different to ever be very close. “Kelly is too much of a general, and Trump is too much Trump,” one White House official said. But Mr. Trump continues to hold Mr. Kelly in high regard, these people say. He frequently calls out Mr. Kelly during his public appearances.

At a briefing on Hurricane Maria relief efforts in Puerto Rico earlier in the fall, Mr. Trump noted Mr. Kelly’s presence in the back of the room.

“He likes to keep a low profile; Look at him sitting in the back,” Mr. Trump continued. “But, boy, is he watching—you have no idea.”

Daddy's so mean. But don't worry, sonny boy can figure out how to get around him. He's smart. He has a good brain.


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