John Kelly Is a Trumpist After All

By David A. Graham

During a press briefing earlier this month, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly alluded to a pair of viral images of him. In one short clip, he rubbed his eyes as President Trump defended a soft white supremacy following violence in Charlottesville. In another, he hid his face in his hand as Trump derided Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man” at the United Nations.

Those moments weren’t what they seemed, he said: “You guys with the cameras always catch me when I’m thinking hard and it looks like I’m frustrated and mad.”

Several subsequent comments, most recently a baffling, historically illiterate defense of Robert E. Lee delivered on Fox News Monday night, have made Kelly’s denial increasingly credible. In addition to showing the imprudence of overinterpreting brief visual evidence, the last few weeks have demonstrated that while Kelly is frequently at odds with Trump’s stylistic approach, the men are largely simpatico on substance.

When Kelly, then secretary of homeland security, was moved to the chief of staff’s job at the time of the Reince Priebus-Anthony Scaramucci bloodbath in late July, the word was that he would either instill order in the White House or go down trying. Although the West Wing began to leak somewhat less profusely, a string of reports soon sketched out how things were going. Kelly was able to restrict the revolving door of hangers-on cycling through the Oval Office, and apparently to at least narrow the flow of unvetted information reaching the president. (He couldn’t restrict Trump’s late-night and early-morning cable-TV habit, though.)

Kelly’s attempts at order brought him into conflict with Trump. The New York Times reported at the start of September that the president bridled against Kelly’s approach and had lashed out at him. Rumors of an early exit abounded. By the …read more

Via:: The Atlantic


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