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Mike Siegel: White House Disarray

Is General Kelly “The Fixer”

Mike Siegel
July 31, 2017 - 12:37 pm
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The chaos in the White House rests with President Trump. It is not Reince Priebus as Scaramucci would suggest; it is not Steve Bannen; it was not Sean Spicer; it is not Sarah Huckabee sanders.

President Trump is his own worst enemy as a politician. It is the ultimate irony that he wants to succeed on policy, and his views and efforts on policy are excellent. He Has had many successes with Executive Orders, Judicial Appointments, Meetings with foreign dignitaries, working with veterans and numerous other activities.

If he would behave in the way that he claims he can, “more presidential than any president except President Lincoln,” he would capture the full support of the public and have a better relationship with the members of his own party in the Congress. President Trump is the political embodiment of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And this observation comes from someone who supported him from the beginning because we did and do need to shake up the elite class in Washington.

The past week has been beyond anything a fictional film about the presidency would have portrayed. We have a Director of Communication using language that belongs in the gutter; we have a President unjustifiably attacking his own Attorney General as “beleaguered” and “weak,” suggesting he should not have a recused himself. Both Democrats and republicans in Congress defended General Sessions and Speaker Gingrich and Mayor Giuliani both stated publicly that the Attorney-General did the right thing by recusing himself. The President alleged that Senator Sessions, before accepting the nomination, should have told him that he would recuse himself. The ignorance of that statement by President Trump is baffling. General Sessions did not even know he would be in a position to have to recuse himself until after he took office. How can you tell someone something before you even know it is a reality?

Reince Priebus was probably not well-suited for the job of Chief of Staff. He has led political activities for a party and has not shown himself to be the kind of leader that is needed in this White House in that position. In fairness to Mr. Priebus, he was probably never given the authority to do the job as it should be done.

General Kelly is an excellent choice to take over the duties of Chief of Staff. The problem is that we do not know whether he set any boundaries on his duties. Every former Chief of Staff who has commented on the job has expressed one common thread; that the Chief of Staff must have full autonomy to control access to the President and have accountability from White House staff regarding policy issues and building success in Congress on those issues.

Ask yourself this question: Is President Trump going to allow access to his office to be controlled by General Kelly when it comes to Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Scaramoochi and others in his inner circle? Is the President going to agree to ending the procedure of having an open-door policy with staff who come to see him in the Oval Office? Is President Trump going to tweet only on policy issues and end the destructive practice of making accusations and criticisms of members of Congress and others in his spontaneous thoughtless tweets. The low point came when he ended the admission of transgender persons in the military by tweet. That act showed a total lack of understanding of bureaucracy and protocol. As the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, we will not change policy on a tweet, but on a formal order executed by the Commander-in-Chief. The criticism in this instance is about the manner in which the President chose to do this, blindsiding the military and Department of Defense.

General Kelly clearly understand bureaucratic procedures and organizational structure as well as anyone as a powerful leader in our military. He clearly has the capacity and ability to be a superb Chief of Staff to the President. That would mean control of the President’s agenda and access to him, as well as having forceful and unbending policies when it comes to White House leaking.

Many high level political operatives have pointed out that this is the most disarray they have ever seen in a White House. That is due to President Trump who is still operating with the instincts of the owner of a powerful international real estate organization. He still does not get how Washington works and how to win in that system.

Many of us will be disappointed if he does not learn and adapt to the realities of the D.C. bureaucracy. If he does not, many of us will be severely disappointed because of the hope we have for his powerful and correct views on the policy issues. He needs to stop getting in his own way and let those issues become the center of discussion in the media and Congress, and not his latest dysfunctional act or statement.

We can all be hopeful that General Kelly will be the catalyst to accomplish that structural change for this White House

All of us who support the President on policy matters wish you well and total success, General Kelly. You have served this country with impeccable leadership in our military. I truly look forward to your leadership skills doing the same for the Trump White House. The future success of this nation may ride on your depth and breadth of skills. If given the authority, General Kelly will lead the staff and carry out the agenda of the President.

Thank you for your service to this country, General Kelly.

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