Since he was appointed as White House chief of staff, former general John Kelly has tried to establish formal access controls to the president, in large measure to keep fake news and unsolicited advice away from Donald Trump. That hasn't worked. And this time, he has Melania Trump, the president's wife, to thank.
According to Wall Street Journal reporter Michael C. Bender, friends of the commander-in-chief are using Melania Trump's familial access to promote their pet theories and opinions. It's much easier, two anonymous Trump friends are quoted as saying, since Melania Trump moved into the White House.
“If I don’t want to wait 24 hours for a call from the president, getting to Melania is much easier,” one Trump family friend boasted.
Melania isn't only a gatekeeper; she may also help guide his decisions. In May, Politico reported that she had been privately urging him to fire then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer. He was fired from his position a few months later.
As might be expected, a spokeswoman working for Melania Trump denied the report, calling it "fake news."
But Bender's story tracks with what other journalists have reported out of the White House and what some Trump friends and prominent supporters have said themselves: It's still extremely easy to deliver to him half-baked ideas — especially if you know his family.
Last week, Alex Jones, the conspiracy radio host who claims that a computer program is trying to spread extremist Islam, boasted that he has succeeded at getting Trump to repeat his theories "at least five or six times." Jones also claimed that the president carries around notepads which he fills with ideas and thoughts he hears from random people who show up at his campaign rallies.
In August, Jones' Infowars colleague Mike Cernovich told BuzzFeed that he could still get his stories over to the president through his son, Donald Jr.
Jones has also boasted of Trump family connections, saying during a May broadcast that Cernovich was not just providing information to the Trumps privately, they were also giving information to him.
"I don't want to give sources out, obviously. But let's just say this. I know Mike Cernovich's sources. The government knows his sources, so it's not a secret to them," he said during a May 1 episode of "The Alex Jones Show."
"There are people very close to the president who are for real — hell, it's not a secret, it's his sons, especially Donald Jr. He's a total patriot. And there's a bunch of other people," he said.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the president has also been giving staffers secret assignments, ones which he explicitly tells them not to disclose to Kelly.