So who has John Kelly as their pick for the next ouster from the Trump White House on their betting pool?
Ok. It may not happen, at least, for a little while, but the fact that he’s now actively shutting Kelly out of the decision making process means something.
According to Bloomberg News, President Trump has decided to only listen to his best, good brain and is making decisions without his chief of staff.
Case in point would be the recent firing of his second national security adviser, H.R. McMaster.
Kelly wasn’t with the president last week when Trump abruptly decided to oust H.R. McMaster as national security adviser and replace him with John Bolton. Just two people were in the room for that decision: Trump and Bolton.
That sounds pretty spur-of-the-moment, especially when some reports are that Bolton had previously been passed over by Trump because of his moustache.
Other things Kelly isn’t in on: phone calls with world leaders.
When Trump called Russian President Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on successfully stealing another election from the people, John Kelly was not on the line.
Kelly’s issues may be because of the foul up in handling former White House staff secretary Rob Porter. Rather than boot Porter the moment it was learned that he couldn’t receive security clearance because the FBI found that he had been abusive to two former wives and a former girlfriend, Kelly, led by Porter’s current girlfriend, Hope Hicks, the now former White House communications director, bought the man time by releasing a statement of support.
Still, he’s not completely out of the loop.
Trump has publicly praised his work, even as recently as this month, while speaking to members of the Marine corps (Kelly is a retired 4-star Marine corps general).
The chief of staff was in the loop on Trump’s decision to replace Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin with Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, the president’s physician, an aide said. Trump and Kelly discussed the move several times, including in the Oval Office on Monday, and Kelly delivered the news to Shulkin in a phone call Wednesday afternoon, the aide said.
The picture of Kelly’s role emerges from interviews with seven White House aides and five former staffers and outside confidants. All requested anonymity to discuss internal matters. The White House communications staff declined to comment for this story.
It may be the outside influences on Trump that are pulling him out of sync with Kelly.
Sources say he’s still in contact with his would-be communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, who was booted by Kelly last summer, due to an obnoxious, profanity-laced interview he gave, insulting then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and then-chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Trump is also in touch with his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski, like Scaramucci, feels Trump is best unfiltered, and has called for the White House staff to “let Trump be Trump.”
That may be the continuing appeal Trump has for Lewandowski.
Kelly’s current authority may best be showcased in his recent overhaul of policy regarding security clearance. It’s the same policy changes that knocked White House senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner from “Top Secret” to “Secret.”
It’s just the things that Trump cuts him out of – like the announcement on steel and aluminum tariffs – Kelly was caught off guard with that one.
Kelly has told senior staff that although he doesn’t always agree with what the president wants to do, and Trump doesn’t always take Kelly’s advice, he expects to stay on the job.
That’s just about the closest you could come to giving yourself the kiss of death, in this administration.