When it was announced that seemingly no-nonsense former General John Kelly was going to become Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff, the first thought that went through my head was, “This isn’t going to end well.”
I’m not sure why some struggle with understanding that, as much as Trump talks about wanting “the best people” around him, the truth of the matter is he wants “yes men” who are going to tell him what he wants to hear, feed his ego, and never question anything he says or does.
General John Kelly is not that type of person — not even close.
Without getting into too much detail about Kelly, for the sake of this article, all anyone really needs to know is that he’s a former Marine general who served this country from 1970-2016 and has a very “no-nonsense” attitude about things. He was someone who many political experts felt was brought in to “fix” the never-ending chaos constantly swirling around the Trump administration, which he seems to have spent the last few weeks trying to do. Since he took the position as Trump’s chief of staff, he seems to have played a key role in getting rid of/pushing out Anthony Scaramucci, Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, and reportedly has reduced the ease of access some of Trump’s associates have to contact him.
In other words, even before taking the job, it seems clear that Kelly realized Trump had purposefully surrounded himself with toxic people who were key players in the circus that’s engulfed his administration since before he was even sworn into office.
The problem is, most of them were “yes men” who were the exact type of people Trump loves. A bunch of lackeys who spent most of their time catering to his insecurities, feeding his ego, bringing him his daily folders of “positive news,” and saying whatever they felt he wanted to hear. They’d never call out any of the ridiculous things he said or did.
That’s why I haven’t been remotely surprised to see reports coming out that Trump’s already growing frustrated with Kelly, while the former general has already apparently told people around him that he’s not going to tolerate Trump talking down to him like he apparently did during a recent heated exchange concerning his Arizona speech.
In just a few weeks, it appears the relationship between the two is already souring — quickly.
Personally, I don’t look for Kelly to remain with the administration for more than a few more weeks. I’d actually be surprised if he’s still Trump’s chief of staff by Christmas.
Though if Kelly either resigns, or is pushed out, that’s going to be a huge issue for Trump.
Not only would it make Trump look incompetent (more so than he already does) for having to find a third chief of staff so soon after being sworn into office, but Kelly’s departure would provide indisputable proof that Trump’s a megalomaniac who can’t be reasoned with. It would clarify beyond a shadow of a doubt that when it’s all said and done, Trump doesn’t want strong, confident people around him who are going to be honest and upfront with him, he wants a bunch of weak, cowardly subordinates whose job is to do nothing more than tell him what he wants to hear and praise him constantly.
If Kelly left Trump’s administration, it would be a move that would be all but impossible for Republicans to defend. Sure, it looked bad when Trump lost several high-profile people over the last few weeks, but the excuse there has been that Kelly was trying to put out the raging dumpster fire this administration has been since Day 1. Yet if Kelly left, especially if it was because Trump personally got rid of him, it wouldn’t be because he was an incompetent rube who probably needed to go, it would be because he tried to instill a sense of discipline, organization, and structure — and it infuriated Trump.
So far, Trump defenders have been able to dismiss a lot of the chaos that’s constantly surrounding him, writing it off to the fact that he’s “new to all of this” and chose a few people for key positions he probably shouldn’t have. Sure, that’s a piss-poor excuse for the shameful behavior we’ve seen from this administration thus far, but it’s the excuse they’ve been using.
However, if Trump ultimately pushes out a very respected, and disciplined, individual like John Kelly, with stories circulating that the two repeatedly clashed with one another, that’s going to be the indisputable proof that even many of his staunchest supporters can’t deny that the problems with this administration have always started and ended with Donald J. Trump. He can hire, threaten, and fire as many people as he wants, but as long as he’s “president” — he’s the problem.
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