Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Kelly Sends A Message

The new White House chief of staff gives the Mooch the boot.

By The Editorial Board
The Wall Street Journal
August 1, 2017

The big questions about new White House chief of staff John Kelly are whether he can impose discipline on a chaotic staff, and whether President Trump will listen to him. After one day on the job, Mr. Kelly appears to be 2-0.

Mr. Trump swore in his new staff chief Monday morning and within hours Anthony Scaramucci was out as White House communications director. Sources said Mr. Kelly had requested that Mr. Scaramucci depart and that Mr. Trump assented.

The Mooch’s dismissal is certainly a tone setter, and not merely because he was on the job for only 10 days. A New York brawler who made a fortune in finance, Mr. Scaramucci had advertised himself as someone who understood Mr. Trump’s authentic political voice and could fire anyone he wanted to. He had bragged that he reported directly to the President, not to previous chief of staff Reince Priebus. And last week he gave a profanity-laced interview to a writer for The New Yorker denouncing Mr. Priebus and White House aide Stephen Bannon.

By firing Mr. Scaramucci, Mr. Kelly in a stroke demonstrated that he is already in charge and has the President’s support, that aides who want to see Mr. Trump need to work through Mr. Kelly, and that no one should trash their colleagues in public or freelance without permission from the top. Not a bad first day.

With Mr. Trump, it’s possible—perhaps likely—that this will be a fleeting moment of organizational discipline. The President has shown in the past that he can listen to advice for a few hours, sometimes even a few days, but inevitably he feels too confined by political normalcy and breaks free with a Twitter barrage or interview tirade. Or maybe, as a former four-star general, Mr. Kelly is the rare person outside his family whom Mr. Trump will heed.

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