The New York Times reports:
Among the many people agitated this week over John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, was President Trump. And among the people the president called to express dissatisfaction, according to those close to him, was none other than Reince Priebus, the previous chief of staff, who also irritated Mr. Trump.
The idea that the president would confide grievances over Mr. Kelly with the person he pushed out to hire Mr. Kelly is yet another indication of how upside-down Mr. Trump’s world can be. In the West Wing, various characters fall in and out of favor with such rapidity that it is never entirely clear who has the president’s ear.
For now, it is Mr. Kelly who is in trouble. The president has little tolerance for aides who attract negative media attention that spills onto him, and in recent days Mr. Kelly has drawn a string of unwelcome headlines. He roiled negotiations over immigration legislation by declaring that some immigrants were “too lazy” to apply for legal status. And he initially defended a deputy accused by two ex-wives of physically abusing them.
New York Magazine reminds us of some recent history:
Over the past seven months, John Kelly kept dropping strong hints that while he might be the “adult in the room” at the White House, he wasn’t all that different from the other characters on President Trump’s team.
In October he used his credibility as a retired Marine Corps general whose son was killed in Afghanistan to attack a congresswoman who reported that Trump made insensitive remarks to a soldier’s widow. When it turned out he’d made false accusations against the congresswoman he refused to apologize.
Kelly went on to defend Confederate General Robert E. Lee as “an honorable man” and claim “the lack of an ability to compromise” cause the Civil War. He said some of candidate Trump’s comments on immigration were “uninformed,” earning a public rebuke from the president. Then this week he said some undocumented immigrants were “too lazy to get off their asses” and apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.