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General John Kelly’s new role as Chief of Staff

Written By | Jul 29, 2017

WASHINGTON, July 289, 2017 – President Donald Trump used Twitter to announce that Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will be the White House’s new chief-of-staff.  One must wonder if the President has chosen the well-decorated General to be the “adult” in the Oval Office, keeping the kids in the West Wing under control.

The change comes just days after White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci blasted Priebus in an interview and pledged that he would crack down on leaks that he alleged were coming from Priebus.

Priebus was being attacked by Trump advocates for his failure of helping get legislation passed including the Obamacare repeal and replacement legislation, which continues to be stalled.

White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that Kelly will start on Monday and that the entire White House loves him.

President Trump has praised Kelly for his work at the Department of Homeland Security, including the controversial travel ban, tightening of border controls. However, Kelly has distanced himself from Trump, over the belief that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Kelly is the second general to serve inside the White House, General H.R. McMaster currently serves as Trump’s national security adviser. Priebus resigned privately on Thursday.

Priebus discussed his resignation saying:

“The president wanted to go in a different direction. I support him in that, and, like I said a couple weeks ago, I said the president has a right to change directions.”

Presidents have been known to go through multiple chiefs of staff during their presidency.

President Obama had four Chief of Staffs in eight years – Rahm Emmanuel who at 619 days in the job served the longest, Pete Rouse (104 days), Bill Daley (379 days) and Jack Lew (3589 days) each served as chief of staff for Obama, between 2009 and 2013, before Denis McDonough stepped into the role.

The most successful presidents had the strongest Chief of Staffs. President Richard Nixon had H.R. Halderman (1,562 days) and both Nixon and Ford utilized the skills of Alexander Haig (505 days total). Gerald Ford put Donald Rumsfeld (425 days), who served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush into the Oval Office.

Future Vice President Dick Cheney (427 days) served as Chief of Staff for Ford as well.

President Carter had Hamilton Jordan (329 days) and Jack Watson (223 days).

Ronald Reagan had four Chief of Staffs, James Baker (1,476 days), Donald Regan (753 days), Howard Baker (490 days), and Kenneth Duberstein (203 days).

George H.W. Bush employed John Sununu (1,060 days), Samuel Skinner (251 days), brought back James Baker (150) days.  Bill Clinton had Leon Panetta (b.1938), Erskine Bowles (b.1945), John Podesta (b.1949) and George W. Bush had Andrew Card (b.1947) Joshua Bolten (b.1954).

Bill Clinton had Mack McLarty (543 days) Leon Panetta (918 days), Erskine Bowles (638 days), John Podesta (823 days) and George W. Bush had Andrew Card (1,910 days) Joshua Bolten (1,012 days).

Which means that other the George W. Bush’s most trusted advisors who have some of the longest tenures, just two Chiefs over eight years, that most president’s Chief of Staff’s don’t last more than two years in the role.

But Priebus’ time as chief of staff (192) gets the historical note of having one of the shortest times as chief of staff.

The Chief of Staff role is both managerial and advisory and can include the following:

  • Select key White House staff and supervise them;
  • Structure the White House staff system;
  • Control the flow of people into the Oval Office;
  • Manage the flow of information;
  • Protect the interests of the president;
  • Negotiate with Congress, other members of the executive branch, and extra-governmental political groups to implement the president’s agenda; and
  • Advise the president on various issues, including telling the president what he does not want to hear.

It is the most important position in the White House, after the President and Vice President. Priebus’ exit comes a week after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced he was leaving.

Trump’s original pick of Priebus was seen by many as an embodiment of the Washington establishment, who Trump had defeated in the primaries.

Larry Lease

Lawrence Lease is a conservative commentator taking aim at all aspects of governmental domestic and foreign policy. Lease previously served as a volunteer with the human-rights organization International Justice Mission in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Follow Lease on Twitter, Facebook, and soon Blog Talk Radio.