Retired general John Kelly took command Monday of President Trump’s White House staff, in a shakeup that could serve to restore discipline and focus to a White House that’s been gripped by internal power struggles that have played out in the press.
Kelly’s reputation as a straight shooter has many in the Oval Office and in the Republican Party optimistic as he takes the reins as chief of staff. They see Kelly as the ideal candidate to dial back the drama that’s plagued White House in recent weeks.
Kelly was sworn in Monday morning.
“He’s going to have to reduce the drama, reduce both the sniping within and reduce the leaks, and bring some discipline to the relationships,” Republican strategist Karl Rove, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Trump, though, on Monday downplayed the palace intrigue and said his White House is not in “chaos.”
“Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages rising, border secure, S.C.: No WH chaos!” he tweeted.
Kelly’s appointment as chief of staff was announced Friday. The Homeland Security secretary and retired Marine Corps general takes over for Reince Priebus, whose management style was seen as a far cry from Kelly’s. The move could serve to dampen an escalating set of nasty internal battles among the president’s closest advisers.
The infighting at the White House has frequently been leaked, creating another distraction for a team struggling to notch any significant legislative achievement.
The tensions escalated further more than a week ago, when White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned after six months on the job, in protest over the hiring of Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci as the new communications director.
Scaramucci made headlines almost immediately after a conversation he had with a reporter from the New Yorker was printed in full. In that conversation, Scaramucci went on an expletive-laced rant about Priebus and Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, both of whom purportedly opposed his hiring.
In his call, Scaramucci vowed to get Priebus canned and threatened to fire the White House communication staff one by one.