John Kelly takes command as Trump slams back at accusations of ‘White House chaos’
Monday retired general John Kelly took command of President Trump’s White House staff, in a shakeup that could serve to restore discipline and focus to a White House that’s been gripped by internal power struggles that have played out in the press.
Kelly’s reputation as a straight shooter has many in the Oval Office and Republican Party optimistic as he takes the reins as chief of staff. They see Kelly, who had led the Department of Homeland Security, as the ideal candidate to dial back the drama that’s plagued the White House in recent weeks.
“He will do a spectacular job, I have no doubt, as chief of staff,” Trump said minutes after Kelly was sworn in Monday morning. “What he’s done, in terms of homeland security, is record shattering. You look at the border, you look at the tremendous results we’ve had and you look at the spirit. And with a very controversial situation, there has been very little controversy which is pretty amazing by itself.”
Trump, though, earlier Monday downplayed the palace intrigue behind the selection and said his White House is not in “chaos.”
“Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages rising, border secure, S.C.: No WH chaos!” he tweeted.
Kelly’s appointment as chief of staff was announced Friday.
The Homeland Security secretary and retired Marine Corps general takes over for Reince Priebus, whose management style was seen as a far cry from Kelly’s. Leading up to the appointment was a series of nasty internal battles, details of which frequently leaked to the press, creating another distraction for a team struggling to notch any significant legislative achievement.
In addition to strain in the West Wing and with Congress, Kelly starts his new job as tensions escalate with North Korea. The United States flew two supersonic bombers over the Korean Peninsula on Sunday in a show of force against North Korea, following the country’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile test. The U.S. also said it conducted a successful test of a missile defense system located in Alaska.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that she hopes Kelly can “be effective,” and “begin some very serious negotiation with the North and stop this program.”