(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

John Kelly can't break Donald Trump's worst habits

The president has been chatting on the phone to Steve Bannon — who the White House fired this month


Jeremy Binckes
September 1, 2017 11:58AM (UTC)

It was only a matter of time until the stories about White House chief of staff John Kelly moderating President Donald Trump and running a "tight ship" would fade as the president's lapses back into his old habits. That time has already come.

We could very well be seeing reports next that Trump is thinking about firing Kelly, since the narrative has already turned to Trump being "on an inevitable collision course with" him, according to the Washington Post. The Post noted that Kelly, acting like a man responsible for keeping order, is now turning his attention to the most disordered thing in the White House.

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Trump chafes at some of the retired Marine Corps general’s moves to restrict access to him since he took the job almost a month ago, said several people close to the president. They run counter to Trump’s love of spontaneity and brashness, prompting some Trump loyalists to derisively dub Kelly “the church lady” because they consider him strict and morally superior.

According to the Post, Kelly has been restricting Trump's "campaign-trail buddies" from seeing him. They include Border Patrol agents who endorsed him — who were barred from his ill-attended Phoenix rally initially by the White House — and friends who are annoyed by the fact they can no longer just call the Oval Office to chat or drop by to say hi.

Instead of speaking up, the leader of the free world has resorted to tactics used by teenagers afraid of their parents: making phone calls when Kelly isn't around. "The president continues to call business friends and outside advisers, including former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, from his personal phone when Kelly is not around, said people with knowledge of the calls," the Post wrote.

Unfortunately, there's one thing that the Washington Post got very wrong — and that was in the first sentence. "President Trump spent the final days of August dutifully performing his job," the paper wrote, neglecting to mention that when he "tended to the massive recovery from Hurricane Harvey," he was actually going to Corpus Christi; he did such a poor job of "tending" to people or things that his vice president had to be dispatched days later so the administration could offer a more human response to the tragedy. It also didn't mention that, when he "hit the road to sell his tax-cut plan," he did so while the disaster of Harvey was still unfolding in the state he visited before.


Jeremy Binckes

Jeremy Binckes is the senior news editor at Salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Donald Trump John Kelly Steve Bannon White House

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