WASHINGTON (AP) — Firmly taking charge in an unruly White House, former Gen. John Kelly moved in Monday as President Donald Trump’s new chief of staff and immediately made sure that Trump’s profanity-spouting new communications director was shown the door, ignominiously ousted after less than two weeks on the job.
It was the latest head-snapping sequence of events at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but Trump dismissed any talk of disarray. He insisted in a morning tweet there was “No WH chaos,” then followed up in the evening with a satisfied “great day at the White House.”
Aiming to instill some discipline in the White House, Kelly showed Anthony Scaramucci the door just days after the new communications director had unleashed an expletive-laced tirade against senior staff members that included vulgar broadsides at then-chief of staff Reince Priebus. In short order, Priebus was pushed aside and replaced by Kelly, whose arrival led in turn to Scaramucci’s departure.
The communication director’s tenure was the stuff of Shakespearian drama — though brief enough to be just a morbid sonnet.
Scaramucci’s exit underscored the challenges that Kelly, the former homeland security chief, faces in bringing order to a West Wing where a wide swath of aides have reported directly to the president, feeling free to walk into Trump’s Oval Office or buttonhole him in the hallway to lobby for conflicting agendas. Backstabbing among aides has been rife, and rival camps have jockeyed for position.
And then there is president himself, who uses tweets at all hours to fling out new policy announcements, insult critics and even go after fellow Republicans who don’t toe his line.
The ongoing investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election is another source of unease. Monday night, The Washington Post reported that Trump himself had dictated the July 8 statement in which his son Donald Jr. described a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer.
The statement said Trump Jr. and other top figures in the Trump campaign “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children” with the lawyer. Emails released later by Trump Jr. showed that the meeting was suggested to the Trump campaign as a means to deliver damaging material about Trump’s election…