Over the past year we’ve all heard the stories from various major media outlets about an increasingly exasperated Donald Trump being reduced to yelling and screaming at his television set when things are being reported in a way he doesn’t like. It’s painted a picture of a hapless and helpless man who is frustrated at how badly things are unraveling for him. Now it turns out such behavior is contagious when it comes to the seemingly always-in-control John Kelly.
Trump woke up yesterday morning and decided to post a tweet announcing that he was nominating Mike Pompeo as his new Secretary of State. This tweet served as a de facto firing of current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who according to his own State Department’s statement, found out he was fired the same way we did. Tillerson managed to absorb the blow well enough to give a polished sounding exit speech later in the day, while notably going out of his way to thank everyone but Trump. However, someone else in Trump’s inner circle didn’t take the news quite as well.
Whatever you think of retired General John Kelly, and we increasingly think he’s a racist liar, you probably wouldn’t think of him as someone who is lacking in self control. Yet Politico is reporting that when Kelly saw the news about Tillerson on cable news, and in particular the coverage about how the White House was in disarray, Kelly was reduced to yelling and screaming at his television (link). In other words, Kelly is cracking under the pressure and exasperation.
Various reports have Donald Trump on the verge of firing John Kelly, although those reports have been simmering for some time without action. Reports of Trump firing Rex Tillerson had been around for several months before it finally happened. Perhaps Kelly took the firing of Tillerson as a sign that his own firing is now inevitable as well.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report