From the start, it’s been clear that the marriage between Donald Trump and his latest White House Chief of Staff John Kelly would be a rocky one. Kelly has fired many of Trump’s favorite staffers for being loose cannons. Trump’s public behavior has repeatedly embarrassed Kelly, to the point that he’s been seen hanging his head or hiding his face while Trump is speaking. Now things have gotten much, much worse between the two of them.
John Kelly was set to fly with Donald Trump on Air Force One to Las Vegas today, but Kelly was booted off the flight at the last minute, according to Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg News (link). She didn’t explicitly state this, but protocol says that Trump is the only one who could have made a decision like that, so we know that Trump booted Kelly from the flight. The White House is refusing to publicly address the incident, but others are talking.
Here’s what political insider Scott Dworkin had to say about the matter: “I’ve heard from three people from different circles on the Hill that this may be John Kelly’s last week as Trump’s Chief of Staff” (link). So what’s really going on here that led to Trump booting Kelly off Air Force One at the last minute? Did Kelly voice his displeasure about Trump’s antics in Puerto Rico the day before? Did they have a disagreement about what Trump should or shouldn’t say in Las Vegas? Did Kelly tell Trump that he’s considering resigning, prompting Trump to punish him? There’s also another angle here.
Earlier today, NBC News reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had called Donald Trump a “moron” behind his back but within earshot of other officials, back in June. It’s clear someone was looking to cause trouble by belatedly leaking this information today. It’s possible Trump, who has long been paranoid about leaks, suspects Kelly was involved in the leak.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report