5 changes John Kelly has made in the White House – The Hill
By installing John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE as his chief of staff in July, President Trump brought into the White House a retired Marine general intent on introducing order to a West Wing often roiled by chaos and controversy.
And since making the move from the top position at the Homeland Security Department, Kelly has reportedly moved swiftly to limit access to the president, curb Trump’s Twitter habits and dismiss aides he views as sources of drama or controversy.
Trump praised Kelly in a tweet on Friday, saying that he “could not be happier or more impressed” with the job the former Homeland Security chief has done since stepping into his West Wing role.
But Trump has reportedly fumed at some of the restrictions imposed by Kelly, and the chief of staff has chafed, at times, at the president’s lack of discipline and free-wheeling style.
Here are five changes Kelly has made since entering the White House:
Ramped up Trump’s travel schedule
Kelly has set a travel schedule for the president that aims to sell agenda items more directly, according to CNN.
In the past week alone, Trump has visited Texas twice and laid out a broad plan to overhaul the tax code in a speech in Missouri. Next week, he’ll visit North Dakota, where he’s expected to continue his push for tax reform.
Scaled back Trump’s cellphone access
Aides and advisers that once had direct access to Trump on his personal phone have instead been routed through the White House switchboard since Kelly took office, according to The New York Times and CNN.
Likewise, Trump’s confidantes outside the White House have said that the president has used the switchboard to call them. Kelly has typically listened in on the president’s calls, according to the Times.
At least one current aide, Keith Schiller, the director of Oval Office Operations, has reportedly chafed at Kelly’s system for calling the president. CNN reported Friday that Schiller, a longtime aide to Trump, has told associates that he plans to leave the White House soon, after complaining that he has to call the president through the switchboard system.
Limited spontaneous visits to the Oval Office
For the first several months of Trump’s presidency, many aides had unfettered access to the Oval Office, reportedly wandering in to speak to the president as they pleased.
But Kelly has made a point to curb that access, according to the Times, telling senior aides on his first day in office that he would limit Oval Office access to those who have appointments with the president.
Even Trump’s elder daughter, Ivanka, who is also a senior adviser in the White House, has told Kelly when she plans on talking politics with the president, though she maintains open access to the Oval Office, the Times reported.
Changed Trump’s news consumption
Aides have typically delivered printed copies of articles from conservative media outlets to Trump, who does not use a laptop or have a Internet browser on his personal cell phone.
But, according to the Times, Kelly has slimmed down the digest of news reports the president sees.
Trump remains an avid watcher of Fox News – his preferred news source – and he still frequently comments on the news cycle on Twitter and in speeches.
Dismissed aides he views as controversial
On July 31, his first day in office, Kelly swiftly moved to dismiss Anthony Scaramucci, whom Trump had appointed White House communications director just 10 days earlier.
The former Wall Street financier had come under intense scrutiny after a profanity-laced interview with the New Yorker, in which he berated other White House aides and advisers.
Just a few weeks later, former chief strategist Steve Bannon abruptly left the White House, which said that he and Kelly had “mutually agreed” on his departure, though Bannon said he had always planned to leave.