There has been heavy speculation that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is going to be the next to go in a long line of staff who have been fired, have resigned, or been reassigned to other positions since the president took office 14 months ago. There have also been reports for a while now about the mounting chaos in the White House.
However, John Kelly told reporters today in an off-the-record session that Donald is merely speculating about who is he going to let go, and then talking to people outside the White House who are leaking the information to news outlets. Kelly says this is where the news has been coming from concerning possible replacements.
Axios reported that they were not invited to this “off-the-record” meeting and therefore, are not bound by the rules, but got their information from three sources who were knowledgeable about the meeting and paraphrased the contents of the discussion. According to sources:
‘Kelly acknowledged to the reporters it’s likely that Trump is talking to people outside the White House and that reporters are then talking to those people. Kelly cast Trump’s own conversations as a significant contributing factor to stories about the staff changes. (Kelly was making the point that he’s not around for a lot of Trump’s conversations so can’t be sure what he’s telling people over the phone.)’
Kelly contradicted reports of Trump replacing National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, and said there are no plans to replace him.
According to Kelly though, Trump is essentially stirring up these reports himself and is asking those he knows who he should hire and fire.
Axios also reported:
‘Kelly also defended HUD Sec. Ben Carson, who is under pressure for spending $31,000 on a furniture set. Kelly said $31,000 sounds like a lot of money, but to put it in context he asked a reporter how much they think the chair they’re sitting on costs. Kelly said it’s probably worth hundreds of dollars but it will last a long time. He rationalized Carson’s $31,000 outlay by saying the table could last for 80 or 100 years. Kelly was pressed on whether the President was going to fire Carson. He made a military analogy. He said whenever he makes a decision, he makes sure that it’s legally permissible and from that line he takes five paces back — to allow for optics, ethical and other considerations. Kelly said he wants all decision-making across government to be like that and the impression reporters were left with was that Carson is not going to be fired.’
According to New York Magazine:
‘Kelly, who was supposed to settle the rampant chaos in the West Wing, has proven unable to calm the storm. But some of the problems have been of his own making, including the fiasco with former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned last month after his history of domestic abuse was made public.’
Early in March, John Kelly said that God punished him when he left the Department of Homeland Security to go work as the president’s chief of staff. Kelly rolled his eyes as he said it, indicating that the White House was pure chaos.
Chief of Staff John Kelly: "The last thing I wanted to do was walk away from one of the great honors of my life, being the secretary of Homeland Security, but I did something wrong and God punished me, I guess." pic.twitter.com/t3ofEumKAi
— ABC News (@ABC) March 1, 2018
The question seems to be whether or not Trump is ready to clean house or is just talking because he likes attention. Considering how many staff have left the White House already, nothing would be shocking.
Twitter had some opinions too:
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