Something went down between Donald Trump and his frustrated Chief of Staff John Kelly on Wednesday, and it prompted Trump to pull Kelly off the Air Force One flight to Las Vegas at the last minute, leaving him at home. In the hours after the Air Force One incident, multiple sources have claimed that Kelly could now be gone from his job by the end of the week.
First came this report from Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Jacobs, confirming the Air Force One incident: “Gen. Kelly was originally going to be on AF1 to Vegas with Trump today but was pulled off flight, I’m told (link). White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to bury the controversy by claiming that Kelly is always on the Air Force One manifest whether he’s planning to travel or not. However, this doesn’t hold water, because in Kelly’s several months on the job, it’s never happened before.
Then came this nugget from Scott Dworkin of the Democratic Coalition Against Trump: “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). The sources didn’t specify whether this means Kelly is looking to bail or Trump is looking to get rid of him, but either way it’s clear that something has gone terribly wrong between the two men – and it’s been easy to see it coming.
While Donald Trump was defending white supremacists during a speech, John Kelly could be seen standing off to the side, hanging his head. During a more recent Trump speech, Kelly was seen with his head in his hands. Kelly is clearly embarrassed at being associated with Trump. It’s not yet clear what specifically prompted Trump to pull Kelly from Air Force One on Wednesday, but it is clear that things are deteriorating. Now we wait to see if Kelly is indeed a goner, or if they end up mending fences.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report