News World Taming Trump’s White House will be John Kelly’s hardest mission

Taming Trump’s White House will be John Kelly’s hardest mission

Donald Trump considers torture for terror suspects
Donald Trump with his new chief of staff John Kelly, who has been given the job of enforcing order in the White House. Photo: Getty
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The appointment of retired four-star Marine Corps general John Kelly as White House chief of staff could be the last hope for some semblance of order to be brought to the shambolic Donald Trump presidency.

Mr Kelly replaces former Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus, ousted from the role last week. Mr Priebus had been made chief of staff largely due to his strong existing relationships with Republicans in Washington.

Now, not only is the President himself a ‘Washington outsider’, but so is his right-hand man, the second-most powerful person in the White House.

What are the chances that Mr Kelly can bring order to the chaos?

As Joe Manchin, a Democrat member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN: “If a general can’t do it, I don’t know who can.”

One of Mr Kelly’s first moves was to ask the President to remove Anthony Scaramucci from his role as communications director, an early sign that Mr Kelly intends to get the house in order.

“Kelly knows that the administration is highly dysfunctional,” George Rennie, a lecturer in American politics at the University of Melbourne, told The New Daily.

“Everyone knows that in Washington. Everyone talks about the White House being in disarray.

“He’s soon going to realise that telling Trump what to do is an impossible task.

“There’s nothing in Trump’s behaviour that shows he can be reined in.”

Mr Rennie adds that it’s extremely important that a president fully brief his chief of staff, and Mr Trump doesn’t do that.

“That’s why we get Twitter policy.”

Anthony Scaramucci
Anthony Scaramucci was given his marching orders last week. Photo: Getty

He believes it’s an impossible task to run an effective administration while pandering to Mr Trump’s ego “which is so clearly a prerequisite”.

As an iron-fisted leader, who thrived within the structure and discipline of the military, Mr Kelly will likely find Mr Trump’s factionalised war room, beset by a fresh, destabilising scandal every other day, entirely incompatible with his own demeanour and approach.

“History is littered with generals who’ve come into a particular scenario and believed that they have the organisational skills to right the wrongs of their predecessors,” Mr Rennie says.

“This is potentially Mr Kelly’s Vietnam or Afghanistan.”

Among Mr Trump’s 26 or so assistants and advisers who will report to Mr Kelly are the President’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

It has been reported that they are supportive of the appointment and want it to work. At least they, and others, are respectful of his standing, experience, and service to his country.

“Trump does reserve a place for military men and those who’ve served − and especially those who’ve attained a high rank − that’s at least a pretence of respect,” Mr Rennie explains.

The fact that Mr Kelly is widely respected in Washington was demonstrated when the tone of his confirmation hearing for his role as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security was largely bipartisan, in stark contrast to those of many of the Trump administration’s other appointees.

His six months in that role have enhanced his reputation for independence, ‘plain talking’, and a willingness to distance himself from some of the President’s more controversial positions.

The 67-year-old came to politics after 45 years of military service, having enlisted in the US Marine Corps as a 20-year-old in 1970.

He earned his fourth star in his final military role as commander of the United States Southern Command, responsible for US military operations in Central and South America, and the Caribbean, including counter-drug operations, border security issues, and oversight of the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay.

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