As he searches for a replacement for White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, President Donald Trump is worried about the state of mind of West Wing staffers and whether he can really trust them, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal.
"Mr. Trump has told associates he is unhappy with aspects of how the West Wing is running, complaining that staff morale is low, some aides are disloyal and his press coverage is negative," reporters Rebecca Ballhaus and Peter Nicholas wrote.
This helps explain why Trump may be looking for a new chief of staff. Rumors have persisted for nearly a year that Kelly was on his way out, but the former general remained — until Trump announced over the weekend that the chief of staff will be leaving by the end of the year. Low morale and being unable to trust the staff is a key sign of management failure on Kelly's part.
But the discordant nature of the White House may also explain why Trump is struggling to fill Kelly's role. Nick Ayers, the chief of staff for Vice President Mike Pence, was believed to be the frontrunner to replace Kelly, but he announced over the weekend that he will instead be leaving the administration himself. Who would want to join an operation in so much turmoil?
Other high-level contenders have also reportedly withdrawn from consideration. According to the Journal and other outlets, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Office of Budget and Management Director Mick Mulvaney have both decided to stay happy where they are rather than take on the role.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the leader of fractious and extremist Freedom Caucus, has been one of the few people to openly express a desire for the job — but it's hard to imagine he would solve any of the White House's problems.
Of course, with investigations looming over the White House and Trump's perpetual impulsiveness and boorishness dragging down his presidency, it's not clear even a supremely talented chief of staff could right the ship,
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