It appears John Kelly is well on his way to become yet another casualty of the frenzied Trump administration, according to a report published in the Vanity Fair that cited two anonymous Republican officials.
After the former four-star Marine Corps general replaced former RNC Chairman Reince Priebus as the White House Chief Of Staff, he reportedly earned the nickname of “Church Lady” for trying to instill some discipline into a factionalized and chaotic West Wing.
At the time, it seemed fitting for President Donald Trump to tap Kelly, who was already serving as the homeland security secretary, for a key position within the administration as he was not only one of the nation's longest-serving commanders but appeared to share Trump’s hard-line views on a number of core conservative issues – including immigration, White House leaks and Russia.
During the recent government shutdown, many believed Kelly (along with senior aide Stephen Miller) was pulling the strings behind the scenes and essentially running the show, making it difficult to reach a deal to resolve the issue.
However, it now appears Trump is at odds with Kelly – so much so he called him a “nut job” and is trying to get rid of him. In fact, first daughter Ivanka Trump is eyeing possible candidates to replace the veteran.
“Ivanka is the most worried about it,” a source who reportedly spoke with Ivanka told the Vanity Fair. “She's trying to figure who replaces Kelly.”
Apparently, things got sour between the two after Kelly told Fox News the commander-in-chief had “changed his attitude” toward his controversial border wall following the experts’ opinion that “a wall would not be realistic.”
“He has evolved in the way he's looked at things,” he suggested at the time. “Campaign to governing are two different things, and this president has been very, very flexible in terms of what is within the realm of the possible.”
Trump did not approve of his comments.
“I've got another nut job here who thinks he's running things,” Trump told a friend, a Republican source told the publication. A second source confirmed the president vented about Kelly, saying “this guy thinks he’s running the show.”
The report claims its Kelly’s role as a White House moderator that seems to irk the president.
“The more Kelly plays up that he's being the adult in the room — that it's basically combat duty and he's serving the country — that kind of thing drives Trump nuts,” said a Republican familiar with the situation.
Meanwhile, a White House official told the Vanity Fair “it’s categorically false that Trump is unhappy with Kelly. He’s only ever referred to him as the general, tough, can be rough, and commands respect.”
Thumbnail / Banner : Reuters, Yuri Gripas