For the past week we’ve seen increasing hints of it from behind the scenes. Now it’s coming from Donald Trump’s own mouth: this evening he began publicly laying the groundwork for ousting General John Kelly as his White House Chief of Staff. The most jarring part is that Trump’s decision to go full-frontal against Kelly is coming just one day after Bob Corker publicly opined that Kelly was just about the only thing keeping Trump from falling apart – thus suggesting that Trump is now looking to oust Kelly out of spite.
On Tuesday evening, Trump tweeted “The Fake News is at it again, this time trying to hurt one of the finest people I know, General John Kelly, by saying he will soon be fired. This story is totally made up by the dishonest media.The Chief is doing a FANTASTIC job for me and, more importantly, for the USA!” Here’s the kicker: by and large, the media is not reporting this to begin with. No major news outlet has reported that Trump is considering firing Kelly.
To be frank, Palmer Report is the only news outlet that’s even broached the topic this week – and we doubt Trump is sitting around reading us. Instead, Trump is tweeting this so that it will become a headline story for the mainstream media. The media should have picked up on the signs this past week, from Trump bumping Kelly off Air Force One at the last minute (link), to Trump’s people leaking the story about Kelly’s phone having been hacked over the summer (link). Trump was trying to soften up the ground for firing Kelly, but the media largely didn’t bite – so now he’s trying a more direct approach.
The most disturbing aspect of this may be the timing. Donald Trump has clearly wanted to get rid of John Kelly for at least a week. But now that a Republican Senator is humiliating Trump by pointing out that Kelly is his babysitter, Trump is suddenly taking a more direct approach for trying to oust Kelly. This suggests he’s being motivated out of sheer spite.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report