With Priebus out, Republican leadership in Congress no longer has an obvious conduit in the White House. Instead of a well-connected political hand like Priebus, Republican congressional leaders will now have to deal with John Kelly, the retired Marine general and current Homeland Security secretary designated as the new White House chief of staff. Considering Kelly will have his hands full cleaning the rubble out of the West Wing, to say nothing of his already existing cabinet-level responsibilities, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for House Speaker Paul Ryan to have to deal with someone like Anthony Scaramucci — the communications director who seemingly never heard the phrase “off the record” until last Thursday — who already enjoys more influence with the president than Priebus could have ever hoped for.
President Trump might be historically unpopular, but his base still adores him as much as ever, even though after six months in power he hasn’t built the wall or repealed ObamaCare or personally locked Hillary Clinton in prison. For the hardcore Trumpist, campaign promises pail in importance to the president’s ability to stick it to the establishment, be they “coastal elites,” “the media,” or the people they see as milquetoast Republican Party hacks — people like Reince Priebus. As long as Trump is sticking it to “the establishment” — even in his own party — his base will stick with him.