Donald Trump let it be known today that he plans to keep John Kelly as his White House Chief of Staff all the way through the end of his current term, and for once, I believe him. This development might sound initially surprising, considering how it’s widely known that Kelly no longer has any influence over Trump or the White House, and is no longer really doing the job. But there are two things to consider here.
The first is that Donald Trump is a coward who never wants to fire anyone. That’s ironic considering his “You’re fired” catchphrase, but it’s true. Whenever Trump has fired anyone, whether it be a proper firing for incompetence, or an improper firing for the purpose of obstruction, he’s had to be pushed into it. For instance, Jared Kushner talked Trump into firing James Comey. Kushner no longer appears to have any influence. In fact no one does.
Donald Trump no longer has an inner circle. It’s why there’s no one to convince him to fire his bumbling lawyer Rudy Giuliani. There’s also no one to explain to Trump that since he’s stopped allowing John Kelly to function as Chief of Staff, he needs to replace him. But that’s only half the explanation. The other half is that even the ever-deluded Trump has to know by now – at least on his comparatively lucid days – that his time is growing short. This morning he tweeted that “collusion is not a crime.” When you’re busted to the point that you’re left trying to explain that your crime wasn’t actually a crime, you’re near the end of the rope.
So why would Donald Trump even bother trying to replace his White House Chief of Staff this late in the game? The odds of him completing his term are small, and even if he does somehow make it to the finish line, he’ll be so crippled by then, he’ll just be barely hanging on. Sure, he could fire John Kelly and replace him with one of his few remaining eager sycophants, such as Stephen Miller or Kellyanne Conway. But at this point, why bother?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report