Donald Trump’s latest experiment of bringing in a straight-laced retired military General to serve as his White House Chief of Staff may end up going south even more quickly than one might have expected. This morning Trump went on yet another Twitter bender attacking the media, which was supposed to be the kind of thing that Kelly was going to get him to stop doing (link). And now Trump is publicly giving Kelly grief by name.
While giving a speech today, Trump bragged about the stock market. He then said “I keep telling General Kelly,’ General, come on, let’s go, you’re Chief of Staff. They don’t talk about the all time high stock market.'” (source: ABC News). There has been some debate across social media as to whether Trump was criticizing Kelly, or merely goading him. But either way, the bottom line is that Trump has already begun giving Kelly grief in public, just one day after he took the job. The incident also highlights how thoroughly Trump fails to understand what his staff is supposed to be doing, even after six months into his own tenure.
The Chief of Staff’s job is to manage the White House, make sure the trains run on time, make sure the rest of the senior staff is working efficiently, and keep Trump’s schedule from being cluttered by small issues. Nowhere in the job description is the Chief of Staff supposed to be responsible for talking up the stock market, or doing Trump’s propaganda for him. That might be the job for the White House Communications Director, if Trump hadn’t just fired yet another Communications Director yesterday. Anyone who’s ever watched Leo McGarry on The West Wing would have a better understanding than Trump does of what a White House Chief of Staff is supposed to be doing.
John Kelly has been White House Chief of Staff for around twenty-four hours, and he has zero experience in this kind of role, yet Donald Trump is already publicly giving him grief about the job he’s doing. It may or may not have been just a joke, but it’s a red flag considering how severely and unproductively Trump abused his last Chief of Staff. And it helps to further demonstrate that Trump has no idea what his White House staff is even supposed to be there for – which helps explain why his White House has been chaotic mess all along. If you find Palmer Report valuable, make a donation.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report