Here’s the picture I’ve formed of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, based on dozens of conversations over the past weeks with senior officials in the Trump administration.
Why it matters: In his 5 months as chief of staff, Kelly has successfully brought a measure of control to the West Wing but has failed to build deep alliances among much of the senior staff. Last night’s interview on Fox News — where he publicly undercut Trump — provoked the president’s first open break with his chief.
He’s universally admired for his service and was bestowed a level of deference and singular power that former chief of staff Reince Priebus could’ve only dreamed of.
He dramatically cut down everyone’s access to President Trump. This irritated and alienated not only some key staffers but, increasingly, Trump himself. Trump loves — and thrives on — constant interaction and feedback. He’s always informally polling people, asking whoever is in his company what they think of the issue of the day, whether it be a policy decision, or more frequently, whatever topic is dominating cable TV.