New Chief of Staff John Kelly is doing his hopeful best to bring a semblance of order to the dysfunction and chaos that has defined Donald Trump’s short presidency.
To this end, he and White House staff secretary Rob Porter have reinstated a policy used in prior administrations that they will review all documents that cross the President’s desk according to a Politico and confirmed by Axios. That is to say in this case, they will vet news stories for Trump, who is known to fall for and believe the most transparent of fictions.
“The new system, laid out in two memos co-authored by Kelly and Porter and distributed to Cabinet members and White House staffers in recent days, is designed to ensure that the president won’t see any external policy documents, internal policy memos, agency reports, and even news articles that haven’t been vetted,” Politico reported.
The Trump White House conveniently blamed the newly-ousted Bannon for their legislative failures, “… some hope that this new policymaking process will deliver legislative victories that have so far been elusive — particularly now that senior strategist Steve Bannon, who was known for skipping formal meetings to take his proposals directly to Trump, is out of the White House. One official called Bannon a ‘disruptive force’ who did not want to follow any set path for making White House decisions.”
To be fair to Steve Bannon, Donald Trump is the chaos monger. That he attracts others of his ilk and then uses them to take the fall for his failures is hardly a surprise.
Tevi Troy gave Politico the caveat that the process would only work if people stick to it. Unless they take Donald Trump’s Twitter access away, Trump will always find his way to the least savory, most conspiracy-addled thoughts on the Internet. Like attracts like.
“Such shadow knifings won’t happen so much during office hours; but late at night on the phone to Trump — that’s another story,” Axios observed.
Shadow knifings are part of the way Trump leads. He keeps his own people turning on each other, a common strategy of fearful leaders who don’t know how to inspire trust to keep powerful aides from ganging up against them.
Maybe John Kelly sees this as service to his country. I can’t imagine what else would inspire any thinking person to put their entire career and integrity on the line to work for Trump, let alone try to impose order on him.
While this process was pretty standard for other administrations, they weren’t led by a dedicated birther who still believes he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering on 9/11 even though this didn’t happen.
Trump and conspiracy go hand in hand. They are peanut butter and jelly, only mixed together. You can’t get the Trump without the conspiracy. Trump’s mind can’t discern between stories that please him and reality.
This won’t go well, but Kelly should be respected for trying.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.