A stunning piece in the Washington Post posted last night about a potential conflict between President Trump and his Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, now dubbed the “Church Lady” by the White House staff.
Political risk in Washington has diminished with respect to the budget ceiling as the pols unify over the Hurricane Harvey tragedy. The information in the article partially negates that positive, however.
Money quotes from Washington Post piece:
- Trump appears to pine for the days when the Oval Office was a bustling hub of visitors and gossip, over which he presided as impresario… [now] confidants privately fret about his suddenly dark moods.
- And some of Trump’s friends fear that the short-tempered president is on an inevitable collision course with White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.
- Trump chafes at some of the retired Marine Corps general’s moves to restrict access to him since he took the job almost a month ago, said several people close to the president. They run counter to Trump’s love of spontaneity and brashness, prompting some Trump loyalists to derisively dub Kelly “the church lady” because they consider him strict and morally superior.
- “He doesn’t like how Kelly’s handling him. He’s turning on people that are very close to him.”
- Meanwhile, people close to the president said he is simmering with displeasure over what he considers personal disloyalty from National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, who criticized Trump’s responses to a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. He also has grown increasingly frustrated with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has clashed with the president on issues including Afghanistan troop levels, the blockade on Qatar and Cuba policy.
- This portrait of Trump as he enters what could be his most consequential month in office is based on interviews with 15 senior White House officials, outside advisers and friends of the president, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid.
- [Roger] Stone added, “General Kelly is trying to treat the president like a mushroom. Keeping him in the dark and feeding him s— is not going to work. Donald Trump is a free spirit.”
- The president has been quietly fuming about Cohn for the past week but has resisted dismissing him in part because he has been the face, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, of the administration’s tax-cut strategy.
– Washington Post, August 31
1) Gary Cohn revealed resignation risk has gone up with the new information from the article as the President may now think twice about appointing Cohn to the Federal Reserve Chair;
2) The potential collision course with General Kelly is downright chilling and will spook markets big time if it happens;
3) There are still lots of leakers in the White House as the article reveals;
4) The knives are out in the White House for General Kelly. Not good.