Trump names a new chief of staff, but will he listen to John Kelly?
By The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal
President Trump announced late Friday on Twitter—how else?—that he is replacing White House chief of staff Reince Priebus with Homeland Security secretary John Kelly. The decision was probably inevitable given how the President publicly humiliated Mr. Priebus in recent days, but this shuffling of the staff furniture won’t matter unless Mr. Trump accepts that the White House problem isn’t Mr. Priebus. It’s him.
Presidents get the White House operations they want, and Mr. Trump has a chaotic mess because he seems to like it. He likes pitting faction against faction, as if his advisers are competing casino operators from his Atlantic City days. But a presidential Administration is a larger undertaking than a family business, and the infighting and competing leaks have created a dysfunctional White House.
Perhaps Mr. Kelly, a retired Marine general, can impose some order on the staff. But then that’s what Anthony Scaramucci was supposed to do for the communications team, only to blow up in adolescent fashion this week by trashing Mr. Priebus and others in public. White House leakers then let it be known that Mr. Trump liked Mr. Scaramucci’s X-rated rant.
The reason Mr. Priebus wasn’t as effective as he could have been is because Mr. Trump wouldn’t listen to him and wouldn’t let him establish a normal decision-making process. Mr. Trump has a soft spot for military men so perhaps he’ll listen more to Mr. Kelly. He’d better, because on present course his Presidency is careening toward a historic reputation where names like Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon reside.
Your Editor Hopes: That Kelly’s experience and expertise will help the White House focus on governing