Donald Trump May Already Be Running the White House Without a Chief of Staff
The president has made recent staffing decisions and phone calls to foreign leaders without Kelly being present, but Trump has publicly praised his chief of staff and insists he has no plans to oust him, reported Bloomberg Politics.
“Kelly wasn’t with the president last week when Trump abruptly decided to oust H.R. McMaster as national security adviser and replace him with John Bolton. Just two people were in the room for that decision: Trump and Bolton,” the website reported.
“And Kelly is rarely on the line any more when Trump calls foreign leaders,” the report continued. “Last week, when Trump spoke with President Vladimir Putin days before the U.S. decided to expel dozens of Russian diplomats, Kelly wasn’t on the call.”
Seven White House aides and five former staffers and outside confidants told Bloomberg that Kelly has seen his authority and influence slip after the firing of staff secretary Rob Porter, although Trump has privately mused about bringing him back.
Porter was fired last month after domestic violence allegations surfaced against him, and the episode highlighted problems with security clearances for multiple White House staffers.
Aides say Kelly bungled the Porter departure by publicly praising the staff secretary after the claims were reported, and then giving to reporters an inaccurate timeline of his dismissal.
Kelly has been less aware of Trump’s plans lately, according to several aides, and the president seeks his input less frequently — and the chief of staff is no longer able to block access to former aides like Anthony Scaramucci and Corey Lewandowski.
Trump has grown more confident on the job after a year in office, aides say, and he’s making more decisions without input from Kelly or other advisers.
Kelly retains the confidence of many White House aides, according to senior officials, but he has lost credibility with some staffers.
However, sources told Bloomberg that Trump isn’t seriously considering a third chief of staff — although he sometimes dreams up ideas for replacements during private chats with pals outside the White House.