by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
If John Kelly didn’t exist, President Trump would have to invent him, and he wouldn’t be able to.
The chief of staff has had a rocky couple of weeks — first it was the imbroglio over ousted White House staff secretary Rob Porter, and now stories of a brewing clash with Jared Kushner — but he is as close as it gets to an indispensable man in the Trump White House.
Where else is the president going to find someone whom he likes and respects (at least on most days), who can intimidate the White House staff into a semblance of order, who has experience in wielding responsibility in even more difficult circumstances and who shares Trump’s instincts? …
… One, Kelly has indeed been a restraining influence on Trump, even if that is difficult to believe. Just imagine a White House with all those who have now mostly been locked out — Corey Lewandowski & Co. — back on the inside to do their utmost to create the chaos and self-valorizing leaking sufficient for “Fire and Fury: The Sequel.”
Two, Kelly’s fundamental offense as far as the press is concerned is that he, unexpectedly, shares Trump’s views on hot-button cultural issues like immigration and crime.