The new White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, has certainly hit the ground running.
One of his first actions was firing big talker Anthony Scaramucci, clearly a volatile personality in an administration that needs to work on toning things down and tightening up. Now, reports are that Kelly is mulling over additional changes, and Steve Bannon’s name keeps coming up.
Politico reports, emphasis mine:
White House chief of staff John Kelly spent this week in Bedminster, N.J., pondering changes in the West Wing, according to four White House officials.
Kelly summoned aides to President Donald Trump’s golf club there to ask about their portfolios and make suggestions on how to make the West Wing communicate better and get more done, while giving people clear responsibilities and then holding them accountable. The role of chief strategist Steve Bannon has come under particular scrutiny in several conversations, particularly because he has a large staff, including an outside public relations expert, but no specific duties.
The increased chatter has raised eyebrows inside the White House about Bannon’s future. The chief strategist has stayed in Washington while many of the senior aides have been in New Jersey. Aides in Bedminster and in Washington say they fear Bannon is spreading damaging information about his colleagues.
The strategist has lowered his profile, but it’s unclear what his future is. He has mused to political associates about life after the White House, people who have spoken to him say.
Kelly’s no-nonsense tone may spell doom for Bannon and his stalled role in the Trump administration.
In August 2016, Bannon was appointed as the chief executive of the Trump campaign, and is largely credited with leading it to victory. After the election, he was appointed as “White House Chief Strategist”, a newly created position for this administration.
As mentioned in the above article, Bannon is seen as having “no specific duties”, and a disproportionately large staff for his seemingly unclear role. Add to that whispers of Bannon’s supposed disloyalty + Kelly’s serious campaign to disrupt business as usual, and Steve might be next to head out of that revolving White House employment door.
What Kelly has essentially tried to decipher is why the West Wing isn’t working properly. He is asking aides about those they think aren’t team players — and has heard about Bannon. Four White House officials said his outside public relations apparatus rattles them — and they believe he is behind attempts to smear national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Bannon has told others he is not, but he has serious policy disagreements with McMaster.
Clearly, John Kelly is good for this administration. He is a serious persona in the midst of increasing theatrics, and wants to quash White House betrayal in the form of leaks. Naturally, leaks from any presidential administration – especially those that may damage national security – are not a good thing for the country as a whole, no matter your political persuasion. However, there comes a point when one must ask just how damaging is the president himself? His staff can be managed and shuffled, but the president will obviously remain in his position. In the almost 7 months he’s been on the job, President Trump has much damage of his own.
Kelly may set his sights on Steve Bannon, and we may see him walk out of the door behind Spicer, Priebus, and Scaramucci. I, for one, will not shed a tear when/if that occurs.
The question remains: just how much can John Kelly accomplish if his boss is a huge part of the ongoing problem?
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Source: Texas ‘Red State’ News