Tuesday, August 01, 2017


Yesterday, when I predicted that new White House chief of staff John Kelly will inevitably be banished to President Trump's doghouse sooner or later, Thornton Hall wrote this in comments:
Trump has never turned on one of his Generals. They represent his father and he craves their approval. He'll keep fucking up, losing, whatever, but he'll stick by his Generals as long as possible.
That's a valid point. Trump seems to regard military men as surrogate daddies. Even when he let Mike Flynn go, he openly expressed a longing to have him back. He lashes out at civilians, but not generals.

On the other hand, he's known to ignore generals:
Kelly and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, another retired general, were ... said to have been deeply frustrated with the rollout of Trump’s refugee and immigration ban, and made clear to associates that they were not involved in drafting it or aware of its details around the time that Trump signed the original order.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff, including chairman General Joseph Dunford, were not aware President Donald Trump planned to tweet a ban on transgender service members, three US defense officials told CNN -- the latest indication that top military leaders across all four service branches were blindsided by the President's announcement....

A US official told CNN that Mattis was consulted on Trump's plan to announce a ban, but Sen. John McCain said on Thursday that he was surprised by the announcement.

"I think they realize they made a mistake," the Arizona Republican said. "I think generally speaking, it's accepted you consult the secretary of defense before you make a decision that has to do with defending the nation. Mattis was going through a study that they'd done for six months, and he had just extended."

"I know what Mattis said, that he wanted to complete the study, and he was surprised," added McCain, who chairs the armed services committee.
That's how you rebel against an authority figure you fear when you're a child or an adolescent -- you sneak around behind the authority figure's back. Trump may never confront Kelly or overtly demean him. He'll just go around Kelly whenever he wants to do something Kelly wouldn't approve of.

If Kelly really does restrict staffers' walk-in privileges, as we're told he will, I can imagine Trump conferring with Jared or Ivanka or some favorite-of-the-month surreptitiously, as if he's a teenager breaking curfew. Trump's going to get despondent if he can't confer with these people, whose constant presence undoubtedly reassures him that he's special.

So, yes, maybe Kelly won't end up in the Trump doghouse. It's more likely that he'll be neutralized.

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