But administration officials say he has been overwhelmed at times by a permanent culture at the White House that revolves around the president’s moods, his desire to present a veneer of strength and his need for a sense of control. It is why, no matter who serves as chief of staff, the lack of formal processes and the constant infighting are unavoidable facts of life for those working for Mr. Trump.

In the case of Mr. Meadows, it has not helped him with his White House colleagues that the former North Carolina congressman, who has a reputation for showing his emotions, cried while meeting with members of the White House staff on at least two occasions. One instance was in the presence of a young West Wing aide; another time was with the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner…

Mr. Trump is said to have faith in Mr. Meadows and is sometimes responsive to his suggestions. Unlike the president’s history with his three previous chiefs of staff, the two had a personal relationship before Mr. Meadows resigned from Congress to take the job in the White House. But administration officials said that Mr. Trump sees emotion as a sign of weakness.