Republicans call on new Trump chief of
staff to fix White House chaos
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[July 31, 2017]
By Roberta Rampton
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans on
Sunday urged President Donald Trump's new chief of staff John Kelly to
rein in the chaos within the White House on Monday but said the retired
Marine Corps general will be challenged to assert control.
In his first six months in office, Trump has upended White House
convention with a loose decision-making style and an open-door policy to
his Oval Office for advisers, both internal and external. Infighting
among his senior staff has become bitter and public.
"He's going to have to reduce the drama, reduce both the sniping within
and reduce the leaks, and bring some discipline to the relationships,"
Karl Rove, a Republican strategist and former White House adviser to
George W. Bush, said on "Fox News Sunday."
Trump announced Kelly would replace his embattled chief of staff Reince
Priebus at the end of a particularly chaotic week that saw his first
legislative effort - healthcare reform - fail in Congress.
"He (Trump) is in a lot of trouble. This week was the most tumultuous
week we’ve seen in a tumultuous presidency," Rove said.
On top of the healthcare debacle, Trump came under fire for banning
transgender people from the military, and was pilloried for politicizing
a speech he made to the Boy Scouts.
Adding fuel to the fire, his new communications director Anthony
Scaramucci unleashed a string of profane criticism about Priebus and
Trump strategist Steven Bannon to a New Yorker magazine reporter.
Republicans welcomed Trump's decision to bring in Kelly, who starts on
"I think he will bring some order and discipline to the West Wing," said
Republican Senator Susan Collins and Trump critic on NBC's "Meet the
The last week heightened concerns in Trump's party that the distractions
and West Wing dysfunction would derail other legislative priorities,
including tax reform and debt ceiling negotiations.
White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said he thought Priebus had
been effective "but was probably a little bit more laid back” in the way
he ran the office.
"I think the president wants to go in a different direction, wants a
little bit more discipline, a little more structure in there," said
Mulvaney, who reports to the chief of staff.
[to top of second column]
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly (L) listens to U.S. President
Donald Trump during a meeting with cyber security experts in the
Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 31,
2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
It is not yet clear whether all of Trump's senior staff will answer
to Kelly. Some members, including Scaramucci and senior counselor
Kellyanne Conway, report directly to Trump, a structure which gives
them more power.
"I will do whatever the president and our new chief of staff General
Kelly ask me to do," Conway told Fox News' "Fox News Sunday."
Kelly should be empowered to be the gatekeeper to the Oval Office,
said Mike Huckabee, the former Republican governor of Arkansas,
whose daughter Sarah Sanders is Trump's spokeswoman.
"That's what needs to happen, but that's going to be up to the
president," Huckabee said on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures."
"The president has a very different style, he's very open, the door
is open, he invites people to just come on it to a meeting,"
To be effective, Kelly needs to find a way to work within Trump's
untraditional style, said Corey Lewandowski, who was a former
campaign manager to Trump, and remains close to the president.
"The thing that General Kelly should do is not try to change Donald
Trump," Lewandowski said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"Anybody who thinks they're going to change Donald Trump doesn't
know Donald Trump," Lewandowski said.
(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell, Sarah N. Lynch, and Caren
Bohan; Editing by Mary Milliken)
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