John Kelly: The White House is “A Miserable Place to Work”
Donald Trump left Washington, D.C. last week to go to Quebec. During his time in Canada, the president alienated himself from world leaders regarding trade disputes and accused allies of engaging in unfair trade against the United States. Then he took off to Singapore for an historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. But the president also left behind a White House in disarray, with burned-out aides intimating that they probably won’t be around much longer after the November midterm elections.
According to The New York Times, John Kelly told a group of visiting senators last week that the White House was “a miserable place to work.” Journalist Maggie Haberman added in a tweet that the president’s chief of staff felt “horrible.”
Kelly hits one year on the job next month, the demarcation point he has been trying to reach. Asked by some senators at the WH last week how he is, Kelly replied ,”Horrible.” The WH is “a miserable place to work.” https://t.co/M9XUOZ0niv
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 10, 2018
The new reports come at a time when Trump is feeling bolder than ever thanks to rising approval ratings and the promise of an enormous foreign policy victory in North Korea. Yet, unfortunately for the president, his run-and-gun tactics have exhausted his staff.
Furthermore, turnover during Trump’s tenure has been remarkably high. He’s already replaced a national security advisor, press secretary, and secretary of state. Rex Tillerson, Hope Hicks, Sean Spicer, and Michael Flynn were all high-ranking officials at the White House who have since left, mostly under inauspicious circumstances. According to people close to the president, he doesn’t seem to care too much about getting rid of people who don’t yield to his every demand.
Steve Bannon, a Trump administration alumnus himself, said that nobody should be surprised that Trump governs his administration as if he’s taping a new season of The Apprentice.
“This is how he won,” Bannon said. “This is how he governs, and this is his ‘superpower.’ Drama, action, emotional power.” Moreover, since Trump’s staff keeps getting shuffled around (or just kicked out the door), the president has reportedly relied on the outside counsel of former Trump associates, like his old campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and his longtime friend David Bossie.
John Kelly has always battled rumors that he doesn’t get along with the president. He seems to have had more success convincing Trump of his loyalty than Rex Tillerson ever did, who was unceremoniously sacked earlier this year. The new reports of his failing morale come directly at odds with what he told NPR in May, after rumor surfaced that he used disparaging language about the president in private.
“The president and I have a very close relationship,” Kelly insisted. “I’ve always — my view is to speak truth to power. I always give my opinion, on everything.”
“Sometimes — he always listens.”