Tag Archives: John Kelly

Go ahead, Mr. POTUS, run the White House all by yourself!

A reader of this blog has offered a fascinating response to a blog post I published that was critical of Donald Trump leaving acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney out of the loop regarding the planning for the raid that killed Islamic State founder Abu Makr al-Baghdadi.

He wrote: And yet the raid was an astounding success. Baghdadi was killed and none of the good guys were injured. So does he really?

Hey, he might have a point? I say “might” because we don’t know without seeing how the president would be able to manage the White House all by himself.

Mulvaney likely is on his final lap as the acting chief of staff. So here’s my thought: Mr. President, go ahead and leave the chief of staff job vacant after you give Mulvaney the boot. You ought to run the place all by yourself, just as you more or less said you might do when you accepted the Republican presidential nomination in the summer of 2016.

Trump declared that “I, alone” can solve the nation’s myriad problems. He has burned through three chiefs of staff in less than a single term as president. Reince Priebus couldn’t cut it; John Kelly tried to manage the place, but gave up; now it’s Mulvaney serving in this “acting” capacity.

Trump doesn’t entrust his chiefs of staff with any real authority. So, he ought to just take the reins himself. He alone should run the complex White House operation. He alone should make the key personnel decisions. He alone should be able to communicate with key legislative leaders in Congress.

The White House has an interminable number of moving parts. Trump has boasted of his remarkable business acumen. He runs this business empire but, of course, doesn’t acknowledge the multiple failures he has suffered over the span of many years.

Aww, but what the heck. That was then. The here and now puts the president in charge of the executive branch of the federal government.

Let’s see how he manages the White House and let’s see if he, alone, can stem the chaos that has overrun the place.

WH press secretaries: from bad to worse to utterly abysmal

I never thought I would see the day when a White House press secretary could make Sean Spicer look good.

Consider this:

Spicer was the first White House press flack hired by Donald Trump. Spicer “distinguished” himself at his first press briefing by challenging media reports about the size of Trump’s inaugural crowd, contending that the president drew the largest such gathering in the nation’s history. It didn’t go well for Spicer after that. He resigned and now he’s on “Dancing With the Stars.”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders succeeded Spicer and became a shill for the serial liar who hired her. Sanders ended up suspending the White House press briefings altogether. She quit, too.

Now we have Stephanie Grisham, who this weekend said that former White House chief of staff John Kelly was — get ready for this one! — “totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great president.”

Wow, man!

The “genius” of Donald Trump? She’s saying the president is a “genius”? The guy who cannot spell his way out of a third-grade lunchroom? The individual who conducts presidential policy nearly exclusively via Twitter? The candidate who launches into nonsensical, irrational, incoherent tirades at campaign rallies? The guy who cannot string two sentences together?

I know next to nothing about Stephanie Grisham, other than she has yet to answer questions in a roomful of reporters assigned to cover the White House.

Her statement about John Kelly — the decorated combat veteran, the retired four-star Marine Corps general, the Gold Star dad whose son died in combat in Afghanistan — confirms to me that her bulb is as dim as the one burning inside the skull of the president.

John Kelly turns on Trump? Shocking! Just shocking!

John Kelly has served his country with honor, courage and distinction.

Now the former White House chief of staff is telling us that many of Donald J. Trump’s policies are wrong for the country.

The wall along our southern border? Kelly, the retired four-star Marine Corps general and combat veteran, says now that the wall is a non-starter. Donald Trump’s national emergency doesn’t exist along our southern border.

“Waste of money”

He said building a wall “from sea to shining sea” is a “waste of money.” Gee, do you think?

He said of all the jobs he has held, the chief of staff gig was the worst among them. Kelly also said that he wasn’t working for Trump but was seeking to serve the country.

Gen. Kelly also declared that had Hillary Rodham Clinton won the 2016 election he would have worked in her White House.

He kept quiet during his time as chief of staff. He also didn’t argue out loud over the wall issue when he served as homeland security secretary before moving into the chief of staff job.

That tells me he is a good Marine . . . always faithful, if you will.

He is now free to speak his mind and from his heart.

WH chief of staff gets a dose of Trump

Donald Trump selected Mick Mulvaney to be the acting White House chief of staff to succeed John Kelly, who resigned far ahead of his announced timetable.

Mulvaney, who runs the Office of Management and Budget in his real day job, said upon his hiring that he planned to “let Trump be Trump.” He had no intention, or so he implied, of reeling in the president while trying to prevent him from some of his more impulsive behavior.

Well, it’s being reported that Mulvaney got a serious dose of the real Donald Trump during a White House meeting with Democratic congressional leaders. The group met ostensibly to find a way to reopen the government, which has been shut down partially for three weeks.

Trump reportedly dressed Mulvaney down in front of those congressional leaders, telling him to “Stop, stop, just stop. What are you doing? You’re f***ing it all up, MIck.”

There you go. That’s Trump being Trump, per the White House chief of staff’s stated desire. Is this what he really intended when he took the job on an “acting” basis? I think not.

Don’t misconstrue me here. I don’t feel sorry for Mulvaney. He’s a grownup who likely knew about the loony bin into which he was entering when he agreed to run the White House staff.

Still, what I find astounding is that the president of the United States would (allegedly) treat the chief of staff in that fashion in front of a roomful of politicians and other staffers. Then again, given the president’s lack of decorum or dignity at any level, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at all!

The White House chief of staff once was considered the plum of plum jobs in D.C. No longer. Not for as long as Donald Trump is president of the United States. He’s already burned through two chiefs of staff, Kelly and before him Reince Priebus. Kelly was brought in to bring a sense of order after Priebus was canned; indeed, Priebus couldn’t control the traffic in the Oval Office, just inflaming the chaos that dictates the flow within the White House.

Now we have Mulvaney perched in the White House hot seat. I’ve thought all along that an “acting” chief of staff cannot sustain himself over any length of time. I mean, Mulvaney already has a full-time gig at OMB, which is a huge job all by itself.

So now he gets pounded and pilloried by the president while the government remains shut down.

Great work if you can get it, right, Mick?

What a shocker! Kelly says Trump ‘not up to job’?

Imagine my total non-surprise!

Departing White House chief of staff John Kelly reportedly told aides many times that Donald Trump “isn’t up to the job” of president of the United States.

Wow! Who would’ve thought that? Shocking, I tell ya! Simply shocking!

The New York Times is reporting that Kelly, who’s leaving the Trump administration later this week, called the chief of staff post the “worst job in the world.” That’s really saying something, given that the retired Marine Corps four-star general saw more than his share of combat defending this country.

I wanted Kelly to succeed when he took over from Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff; he had served previously as homeland security secretary. Trump canned Priebus and called Kelly over from DHS to rein in a White House staff that had spiraled out of control.

Kelly enjoyed some initial success. He got rid of Steve Bannon, the former Brietbart News exec who served as a senior policy guru. He canned Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci as White House communications director.

But then . . .

Trump just couldn’t be corralled. Kelly couldn’t manage the president. He couldn’t persuade him to follow the normal rules of procedure.

There is far more than a hint of believability in what the New York Times is reporting. Perhaps that explains why Kelly, who reportedly pledged to stay until after the 2020 election, is departing early.

I only can add: The truth hurts, Mr. President.

New WH chief of staff seeks to preserve his own sanity

I am going to hand it to Mick Mulvaney, the new “acting” White House chief of staff.

Whereas John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps four-star general, sought to bring a military-style discipline to the White House, Mulvaney isn’t even going to try that approach.

Politico reports that Mulvaney is going to let “Trump be Trump.”

There you go. Let Donald Trump run the White House the way he sees fit and hope against hope that it works out. Spoiler alert: It likely won’t.

However, Mulvaney — who once called Trump a “terrible human being” — will be able to maintain more than a semblance of his own sanity if he allows the president a relatively free rein in the West Wing of the White House.

Politico reports: Mulvaney will adopt a much larger role in politics and messaging, and plans to take a more laissez faire approach to some quirks of the Trump White House that irked Kelly — like non-essential staffers attending meetings, or the president frequently reaching out to longtime friends, Republican lawmakers and advisers for advice or dinners in the White House residence.

Is it a surprise, then, that Trump and Kelly have been barely speaking? Of course not.

I’m not sure what to make of the Mulvaney Doctrine in running the White House staff, except to believe that he’s basically going to cede day-to-day management to the Big Man himself.

I am wondering now whether Mulvaney is going to lobby the president for a permanent appointment in the White House. He now is ostensibly the head of the Office of Management and Budget. I presume he’ll hand OMB duties to someone else while he shows up for work in the White House.

Under normal circumstances, I would wish Mulvaney well as he embarks on a new challenge. These are far from normal times in the White House. The president is feeling the heat of multiple investigations bearing down on him. The White House staff reportedly is down in the dumps over the uncertainty and chaos.

I suppose the best I can hope for is that Mulvaney’s strategy at sanity preservation works for him.

Who in the world would want this job?

John Kelly is out as White House chief of staff. He apparently has been forced out, making him the second individual to lose that post involuntarily during the Donald Trump administration.

Reince Priebus was the first chief of staff to get the boot from Trump.

This all begs the question: If you’re watching these developments up close and you are on some sort of presidential short list for chief of staff, would you want the job?

If it were me, I would head for the hills, hide in the tall grass, plunge into a cave. I wouldn’t want the president to know where to find me.

Office and Management Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is the current acting chief of staff, which in itself is a bizarre development. Trump is looking for a permanent chief. Where he’ll find it is a mystery to most, perhaps even to the president himself.

I had high hopes for John Kelly. He’s a retired Marine Corps general, a Gold Star dad whose son died in action in Afghanistan. He was Homeland Security secretary when he got the call to run the White House staff after Trump fired Priebus. Kelly is a take-charge guy. I had hope he would calm the White House chaos.

He didn’t do it, but it’s not entirely his fault. He works for a guy — Donald Trump — who cannot be managed. The president has no understanding of the limitations of his office and so he tries to do things that are impossible. He relies on his “gut” more than he relies on “other people’s brains.”

The president’s gut is betraying him — and the country — every single day.

I have no clue how he’s going to find a chief of staff who is willing to tolerate the idiocy that flows out of the Oval Office. Reince Priebus couldn’t hit his rear end with both hands; Gen. Kelly brought a much greater level of competence to the job, but he couldn’t work with a president who is wired the way Donald Trump is wired.

Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, bailed on Trump. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did, too.

It well might be that it won’t matter one damn bit who Trump selects as chief of staff. He tells us he is the smartest man on Earth. I am partly of a mind to let this bozo try to prove it.

An ‘acting’ WH chief of staff? Really, Mr. POTUS?

Welcome to the federal government’s executive branch loony bin, Mick Mulvaney.

Donald Trump has just named the current director of the Office of Management and Budget as the “acting” White House chief of staff. Mulvaney ostensibly will serve as the White House ringmaster until the president can find a permanent chief of staff to succeed John Kelly, who’s leaving the post at the end of the month.

This is a seriously bizarre move on the president’s part.

The White House chief of staff is supposed to seize the reins of the executive staff of the president. The chief, according to those who know these things, is the president’s alter ego. He or she is supposed to know the president’s every move. He or she is supposed to have the president’s full backing. The president is supposed to simply let the chief of staff handle matters that the Big Man doesn’t have time to handle.

Mulvaney already has a full time job at OMB, which is a big enough job as it is. Now he gets to spend part of his time pretending to be the White House chief of staff working at the pleasure of a president who — as we’ve seen many times already — has this incurable penchant for second-guessing the chief at every turn.

How in the world is Mulvaney going to bring a semblance of stability to a White House that is operating in full chaos mode?

The executive branch of government becomes the product of the man elected to lead that arm of government. Americans have elected someone in the person of Donald Trump who has zero understanding of how government is supposed to work. He doesn’t know a thing about public service and has no inclination to learn anything about it.

Good luck, Mick Mulvaney. You are going to need every bit of it you can find.

White House chief of staff: no longer best job in the world

There once was a time when the White House chief of staff was considered the best job in Washington, D.C. The chief was closest to the president. The chief ran a staff of individuals who helped formulate public policy. It was a dream job.

Now it’s a nightmare post. Donald Trump has just pushed his second chief of staff in less than two years out the door. John Kelly is leaving at the end of the month. He couldn’t control the president. He couldn’t manage the staff. He couldn’t do what Trump promised he would do after he fired the first chief of staff, Reince Priebus.

The heir apparent, Vice President Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, was thought to be a shoo-in for the White House chief job. Then he backed out. He doesn’t want the post and, I’ll presume, the intense aggravation that goes with it. He wants to move back to Georgia with his young family.

What has the president done to this formerly plum political post? He has wrecked it. He wrecks the reputation of those occupy that post. He continues to govern by the seat of his britches. The man is clueless, yet he wants to manage the White House staff all by himself, while he continues to “make America great again.”

So very sad. And weird. And bizarre.

Let’s call him ‘Delusional Donald’

Donald J. Trump’s delusion is on full display every time events run totally counter to the lies he tells.

He said on March 6, for instance, that “Everyone wants to work in the White House.” He went on to tell the nation that every position is just chock full of applicants who want a part of the “energy” emanating from the West Wing.

Here is what he said

So, what happened this past week? White House chief of staff John Kelly resigned effective at the end of the year; his deputy chief, Nick Ayres, was slated to succeed him.

Except that Ayres doesn’t want the job. He’s bailing out, too, heading back to Georgia to, I suppose, “pursue other interests.”

C’mon, “Delusional Donald.” Can’t you just one time tell us the truth?