Editorial: Chaos delivers Kelly
If this were a normal day in the Trump presidency — say, a year or two into his term — we would have come to this space with nothing but praise for the selection of retired Marine Corps General John Kelly to serve as the White House chief of staff. After all, Kelly, a Boston native, is a straight-shooter, with an impeccable reputation, the respect of his underlings and is a solid choice to meet the challenge of herding the many cats now prowling around the West Wing.
But this isn’t a normal day, is it? This is the second Friday in a row that a major figure in the Trump White House has been cut loose. Last week it was Sean Spicer, who quit in protest of the hiring of new communications director Anthony Scaramucci. And now Reince Priebus is out as chief of staff.
In the intervening days Scaramucci went on a profanity-laced tirade with a reporter, tossing Priebus under the wheels of Air Force One. The president surprised his generals by tweeting out a major change in policy over transgender individuals serving in the military. He kept up his relentless Twitter attacks on his own attorney general. And while Trump was busy supervising all of this chaos, Republicans in Congress were losing any real hope of reforming Obamacare (see below).
So while we would love to be able to focus on Kelly’s credentials we can’t help but worry that, no matter who’s in charge, complete and utter chaos is the new normal. It’s barely seven months into the president’s term of office and already he is on his second chief of staff, his second national security adviser, his second (really his third) communications director, and his second (though yet to be confirmed) FBI director. Yes, his AG is still on the job, but he’s not even on speaking terms with the boss.
It’s true that after Scaramucci’s tirade this week Trump couldn’t let the Priebus “situation” fester much longer, so a change was inevitable. The fact that he let a loyal aide twist in the wind for months was positively shameful, but that’s how this president does business. At least he finally cut Priebus’ tether; poor Sessions is still twisting. But surely he won’t be by himself out there for long.