Tuesday, December 11, 2018


We know why there's a chief of staff crisis in the Trump White House. As The New York Times reports, a certain pair of insiders wanted to be rid of John Kelly, the current chief of staff:
Several of [Trump's] aides expressed frustration that months of intense campaigning to replace John F. Kelly — an effort led by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s elder daughter and son-in-law — resulted in yet another chaotic staffing scramble....
Ayers was Ivanka and Jared's choice:
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner lobbied for months for Mr. Ayers to be chief of staff.
They had concluded that something had to be done:
Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner’s efforts on behalf of Mr. Ayers were widely seen as a coup attempt, started on behalf of a president who was unhappy with Mr. Kelly but could not bring himself to fire him.
(To me that seems more like adult children deciding to do the decision-making on behalf of a struggling elderly parent.)

One potential replacement for Kelly doesn't seem to want the job, even though he has what seems to be the most important attribute:
[Treasury Secretary Steven] Mnuchin ... has earned the confidence of the president and his children from his time on the 2016 presidential campaign.... But a person familiar with Mr. Mnuchin’s thinking said that he was more interested in keeping the job he has now.
Another potential candidate really seems to want the job, but he doesn't have that all-important attribute:
Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina, who is the hard-edge chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, is also in the running for the job. He does not enjoy the same confidence of the Trump children that Mr. Mnuchin does. But he is the only person to express public interest in replacing Mr. Kelly.
One person who's been mentioned would seem to have no chance at the job:
... Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor and head of the Trump transition team, ... angered Mr. Kushner for sending his father to jail while he was a federal prosecutor.
And Kelly, of course, got crosswise with ... well, you know who:
Mr. Kelly, meanwhile, is said to be furious with Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner. One senior administration official said that Mr. Kelly was known to have kept written notes about Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump and the things that they had done or requested, which he conspicuously left on his desk in view of his staff.
It seems to me that there's an obvious replacement for Kelly -- or two obvious replacements. Just give Jared and Ivanka the chief of staff job. They already seem to be doing it. Sure, they're incompetent -- they thought the Ayers promotion was a done deal, and were apparently blindsided when Ayers said he didn't want the job -- but they have Trump's confidence and they already behave as if they run the place. So let them run it officially. They insist on being backseat drivers, so hand them the keys and let them drive.

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