Tag Archives: John Kelly

A ‘fine-tuned machine’ at work? Hardly

Let’s take stock for a brief moment of an organization that Donald J. Trump once called a “fine-tuned machine.”

* National security adviser Michael Flynn is forced out after 24 days.

* White House communications director Mike Dubke resigned after five months on the job.

* Sean Spicer quit after six months as press secretary when the president hired Dubke’s successor over Spicer’s expressed objections.

* Reince Priebus is forced out as White House chief of staff after seven months, the shortest tenure in history.

* Anthony Scaramucci gets the boot as the new communications director after just 10 days, setting another record for public service brevity.

Five top White House staff members are out the door. And yet … the president once called his administration a “fine-tuned machine” that has been the most productive administration in U.S. political history.

All that productivity has resulted in precisely zero major legislative accomplishments. Republicans now control the White House in addition to Capitol Hill. They wanted to toss out the Affordable Care Act, but failed, with little expectation now that they’ll be able to accomplish their No. 1 mission in life.

You may choose to believe or disbelieve my next statement, but I’ll make it anyway.

I do not wish failure on this administration. I am trying to take the higher road than the one taken by some right-wing radio talk show blowhards who wanted President Barack Obama to fail during his two terms in office.

However, the president needs to stop telling us lies about fine-tuned machines and all that alleged productivity. All roads leading to the White House are strewn with wreckage.

The task now falls on the new White House chief of staff, John Kelly, to clean it up.

Great start, Gen. Kelly!

Donald John Trump Sr. welcomed new White House chief of staff John Kelly to his post this morning.

The president predicted that Kelly would do a “spectacular job” in the West Wing. I’m going to presume a bit here, but it looks as though the new chief of staff is off to a rip-roarin’ start.

Within hours of being sworn in, Kelly got the president to give White House communications director Anthony “Mooch” Scaramucci the heave-ho — 10 days after Trump hired him!

There’s no nice way to say this, but Mooch conducted himself like a maniac in his White House job. He has no comparable experience that would have commended him for the job and, oh brother, it showed.

Kelly brings an entirely different skill set to his chief of staff job, which he assumed after Reince Priebus got the axe this past week. Kelly is a retired Marine Corps general; he has 45 years of service in the military; he is a combat veteran — and a Gold Star father, having suffered the terrible tragedy of losing a son in combat in Afghanistan.

The president’s prediction of a “spectacular” performance by his new chief of staff was delivered quickly by the new guy.

Gen. Kelly has a long, steep mountain to climb before completing the task of converting the White House from an Animal House into a “fine-tuned” center of government operations.

His first full day at his new post suggests he is up to the task.

Then again, it’s only been a day. Gen. Kelly still has yet another wildfire to control. That would be the president of the United States.

What about the ‘idiot in chief,’ Gen. Kelly?

The new White House chief of staff is being described as someone who won’t “suffer idiots.”

No surprise there. John Kelly is a retired Marine Corps general. He’s been tested in combat during his 45 years in uniform. He has suffered grievous tragedy with the loss of his son who was killed in action in Afghanistan. Until this week, he led the Department of Homeland Security. Then the president of the United States asked him to take over as White House chief of staff.

Those who know Gen. Kelly say he brooks no foolishness.

That brings us to the fundamental point. The most successful White House chiefs of staff control virtually every word that flows from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. In this age of social media, that should include the Twitter network operated by Donald John Trump.

Is the new chief of staff going to demand from the president that he — as in Kelly — has complete control? Will the chief be able to screen the tweets the president decides to fire off? Will he have veto power over the idiocy that occasionally flies into cyber space?

According to The Washington Post: “He knows how to do this: with common sense and good leadership,” said Kelly’s longtime friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer frank opinions. “He won’t suffer idiots and fools.”

Idiots and fools, eh?

The idiot in chief also is the fool in chief. They are the same man, who was elected president of the United States in a campaign that defied virtually every single bit of conventional wisdom known to politics.

He vowed to become “more presidential” once he took office. Trump has veered precisely into the opposite direction, as he has become less presidential.

It now falls on the new White House chief of staff to rein in The Boss. I’m unsure how Gen. Kelly is going to harness the most ignorant man ever to hold the highest office in the land.

It’s been said that former chief of staff Reince Priebus’s tenure is the shortest in U.S. history. If the new guy doesn’t get some guarantees from the president that he’ll actually get to take charge of the staff, Priebus’s record may be smashed in a matter of days.

It’s you, Mr. President, not your chief of staff

The critiques are pouring in on the White House in the wake of the ouster of Reince Priebus as chief of staff.

Donald John Trump shoved Priebus out the door this week and hired Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly as the new chief.

But those critiques seem to be conveying the same message: The White House failure to function as a “fine-tuned machine” — which is how Trump once described his administration — belongs solely to the president, not the chief of staff.

It’s Trump’s tweets. It’s his capriciousness. It’s his ignorance of government and how it works. It’s the presence of unqualified family members in the innermost circle of key advisers. It’s that maniac communications director — Anthony “Mooch” Scaramucci — who reports directly to the president.

Because the president doesn’t know how to assemble a competent governing team, his chief of staff has fallen on the proverbial grenade.

His new chief of staff, Kelly, comes from an entirely different mold. He is a career Marine Corps officer; a retired four-star general; a war hero; a Gold Star father who lost a son in combat. He’s a kick-ass military man.

My latest Question of the Day is simply this: Is the president going to let Gen. Kelly run the White House and control the message the way it’s supposed to be done, the way many effective chiefs of staff have done?

I don’t know what John Kelly is doing this weekend as he prepares to assume this new gig, but I would hope he’d be on the phone with some preceding chiefs of staff and asking them for pointers on how he ought to proceed in this atmosphere of chaos and confusion.

The source of that chaos? He sits on the Oval Office.

Kelly vs. Mooch: All bets are off

John Kelly is about to take on the job of his nightmares.

He is the next White House chief of staff, replacing Reince Priebus, who was booted out of his job this week by the president of the United States, one Donald John Trump.

The president, moreover, has hired a communications director who is exhibiting the conduct of a madman. Anthony “Mooch” Scaramucci went on a profanity-laced tirade and predicted correctly that Priebus would be gone by the end of the week.

Now into this maelstrom comes Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general. He is a no-nonsense general-grade officer. He has served his country heroically and with supreme honor. He moves into the White House from the Department of Homeland Security, where he served as secretary.

It’s the Kelly vs. Mooch situation that ought to cause concern throughout the massive federal government.

Mooch reports to the Donald Trump. Tradition — something for which the president has zero regard — has made the communications director answer to the chief of staff.

Here’s my question: How long will it take Gen. Kelly to slap some sense into Mooch and tell this loudmouth that the chief of staff controls the message?

It’s being said in recent hours and days that no previous president would have put up with the hideous tirade that Mooch launched against Priebus. Mooch called Priebus a “schizophrenic,” adding a colorful f-bomb adjective in front of that term.

Can you imagine someone referring to, say, previous WH chiefs Leon Panetta or James Baker III with that kind of language?

With all of that said, Gen. John Kelly is walking into a White House that is in an utter state of confusion and chaos. It’s a direct reflection of the man who refused to let the previous White House chief of staff do his job.

Moreover, it all reflects directly on the incompetence demonstrated daily by Donald John Trump Sr.

Good luck to you, Gen. Kelly. You will need every bit of it.

Trump fills two key national security posts … next?

Donald J. Trump took the oath of office today and the U.S. Senate managed to do its job by confirming two critical appointments to the new president’s national security team.

Senators confirmed James Mattis as secretary of defense and John Kelly as secretary of homeland security.

Two elements intrigue me about both of these men.

One, they are retired general-grade officers, both Marines, both of them with four stars each on their epaulets. You’ll recall that the president said he knows “more than the generals about ISIS, believe me.”

But … does he? I don’t think so. I am convinced as well that the president didn’t think so either when he blustered that statement while campaigning for the office. It was an applause/laugh line.

The second element that is most interesting to me is that Gens. Mattis and Kelly both contradict some talking points that Trump declared, also while campaigning for the presidency.

Mattis in particular has declared Russia to be a primary threat to our national security, something that Trump has dismissed virtually out of hand as the controversy over Russian hacking has escalated. Kelly, too, has shown to be his own man while discussing ways to protect the nation.

Kelly takes the point now as Trump’s guy in the fight to control illegal immigration. Mattis now gets to assess additional international threats to the nation — and he is seriously concerned about Russia. Perhaps he can persuade the commander in chief that he, too, needs to worry about Vladimir Putin’s intent.

I’m also fascinated that the notion of a retired Marine general with the nickname of “Mad Dog” is seen as the reasonable alternative to the man who nominated him in the first place.

These two men will assume critical roles in the new administration. One word of warning, though, is in order: Donald Trump now needs to concentrate aggressively on filling many of the staff-level national security jobs that are vacant.

He did vow at his inaugural that he would eliminate radical Islamic terrorists from the face of the planet. You must get busy, Mr. President.