President Trump’s year or so in office has been marked by chaos if it’s been marked by anything. Most days, Trump sets the tone for the day’s political conversations with an incendiary tweet, the exact contents of which vary from day to day, but range in how outrageous they are from being incendiary to being outright false.
In between these tweets, Trump sticks to essentially what defined him as a candidate, making grandiose promises and threats and even holding an occasional campaign rally, having filed to run for re-election in 2020 sooner into his first term than any other modern president.
He’s added threats like one to annihilate North Korea to his campaign-era arsenal of threats like the one to build a wall along the entire border between the U.S. and Mexico.
There’s at least one person on the inside who’s been reported to be far from impressed with Trump’s belligerence, even if ideologically it’s not as though he’s a moderate — retired four-star marine general John Kelly.
Trump tapped Kelly, who was at the time serving as Secretary of Homeland Security, to serve as White House chief of staff after the departure of Reince Priebus from the position.
In the months since, the relationship between the two men has evolved into something of apparent mutual tolerance, but even that may be fraying beyond repair according to reporter Gabriel Sherman.
Sherman reports that two “prominent Republicans in frequent contact with the White House” told him that “Trump has discussed choosing Kelly’s successor in recent days, asking a close friend what he thought about David Urban, a veteran Washington lobbyist and political operative who helped engineer Trump’s victory in Pennsylvania.”
The president’s daughter and unpaid adviser Ivanka Trump has been involved in the efforts to find a replacement for Kelly, according to Sherman.
In the words of one of his sources:
‘Ivanka is the most worried about it. She’s trying to figure who replaces Kelly.’
One important note from one of the sources is that Kelly wants to one-up his predecessor in terms of the length of his time on the job, so his departure likely isn’t “imminent.”
The fissure between Kelly and Trump has become obvious yet again in recent days and weeks.
Last week, Axios noted that Kelly had reportedly told lawmakers from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus that Trump had been “uninformed” when promising to build a wall along the entire border between the U.S. and Mexico.
Early the next day, Trump took to Twitter to rebut his chief of staff’s reported attempt at clarifying his boss’ remarks, writing:
‘The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it. Parts will be, of necessity, see through and it was never intended to be built in areas where there is natural protection such as mountains, wastelands or tough rivers or water.’
Ridiculously, Trump added yet another claim that Mexico will pay for the wall, although that remains a pipe dream at best.
Kelly also infuriated his boss with his claim that he had “evolved” in his views since becoming president, as yet another point indicating that Kelly will perhaps have a short future in D.C.
Were Kelly to leave, it would top off a first year in which the Trump administration set a record for senior staff turnover.
Featured Image via Kevin Dietsch/ Pool via Bloomberg