Melania Trump exploits the John Kelly power vacuum

The moment demonstrated what those who know the first lady well have been insisting for ages: that she is a more savvy and ruthless political operator in her husband’s administration than many usually give her credit for. And it suggested that she saw an opening in Kelly’s increasing absence.

“She can be a knife fighter… She’s a Trump [after all],” a source close to Melania told The Daily Beast. “But past experiences have shown that her actions are well thought out and that all outcomes, intentional or unintentional, are considered.”…

Nonetheless, to veterans of past White Houses, it resembled a remarkable breakdown of the internal chain of command. To veterans of the White House present, it was merely the latest of the power squabbles and chronic backstabbing persisting under the watch of Kelly, the man installed last year with an explicit mandate to quell the chaos and palace intrigue.

“At some point, you walk into the White House and everyone thinks it will all be different, but the reality is, it is what it is,” said the former senior Trump White House official.