President Trump has had his fair share of studs and duds when it comes to staffing. Mike Pence was certainly a stud VP nomination during the campaign. Since the inauguration, he has paid dividends for Trump with his crucial votes in the Senate have been. Trump also staffed his cabinet with Reince Priebus as a reward for using his political muscles to assist him during his campaign. However, this was a questionable decision at the time. Contrary to popular belief, the Vice President, although next in line for succession, isn’t always second in command with regards to daily operations. The Chief of Staff is effectively the President’s right-hand man.
Under Priebus, there were a lot of leaks, unprofessionalism, and a lack of unified message coming from the Whitehouse. Granted, it’s harder to have a unified message with a less predictable President. But if Reince Priebus made any effort to focus Donald Trump, he failed, and if he made no effort to focus Trump at all, then he was never qualified for the job.
In comes John Kelly, who has immediately set a different tone as reported by Axios. The Whitehouse meetings have become shorter and more concise. The doors are closed so that everyone is there on time and no one is moving in and out as they were before. Efforts like this will slow the prevalent Whitehouse leaks. There is hope that John Kelly will provide the President sage counsel and some indication that Trump will heed it. The report indicates that Trump and his family are amenable towards John Kelly. This shows that John Kelly might bring some much-needed order to Trump’s Whitehouse. By reigning in the meetings, Kelly could help the Trump administration accomplish much of the agenda they promised during the campaign.
The concise meetings may just be a start. Trump is a loose cannon. That’s what Kelly is working with. There is no changing Trump’s core nature, only perhaps directing it. One area of focusing Trump is social media. Being realistic, there is no making Trump log out of twitter. Trump has a powerful tool in which he can garner the whole country’s attention. However, if Kelly can convince Trump to use his platform for more effective messaging rather than starting Twitter wars with Morning Joe or badmouthing his Attorney General, that would be a major improvement for the President. The expectation in this area is low, but if Trump’s social media somehow becomes a more organized message, John Kelly might have just done what no one else has. A more realistic expectation would be better staffing decisions by the Whitehouse because hiring Anthony Scaramucci was a regrettable notion by the Trump administration.
Kelly’s new position may be an indication that Trump wants to be a more disciplined leader. Trump’s compliance with Kelly’s style of running a meeting is likely because it’s a welcomed change by Trump. Whereas Priebus had a more sycophantic relationship with Trump, John Kelly commands a level of respect from Trump and his family that the other Whitehouse staff lack. Perhaps it is clear to them that the shenanigans of the past need to change. Still there’s no one better to demonstrate leadership and enact disciplined than a former general. Some are overly skeptical about Kelly’s ability to reign in Trump or Trump’s willingness to exercise discipline, however we should proceed with cautious optimism. John Kelly is suited for the task.