At a senior staff meeting last Monday, according to one adviser in attendance, the president delivered an unmistakable decree: “Reince [Priebus] is in charge. He’s the chief of staff. Everything has to go through him.”
That directive included setting clearer boundaries between the various departments and assertively tamping down on reports of staff infighting, which aides said personally angered the president.
Over the rest of the week, Priebus sought to assert control over the policy process and interagency communications, slowed the assembly line of executive orders to avoid errors and tried to organize the daily rhythms in the White House.
“This is the chief of staff saying, ‘Look, we have a very qualified team here, and we want to make sure that everyone has time and opportunity to make comments on these policies,’ ” said Katie Walsh, a deputy chief of staff.
The big thinker remains chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who has used chaos as a tool for implementing transformative policy but who aides said is now trying to adapt to working within Priebus’s structure.