Ever since General John Kelly came in as Donald Trump’s chief of staff, people have been wondering when Kelly would call it a day and simply go home. By most accounts, Kelly isn’t much for political infighting or diplomacy between warring factions of the Republican party. When reporters recorded his reactions to Trump’s unhinged speech (at Trump Tower) about Charlottesville, many noted Kelly’s winces and grimaces. Kelly is not a die-hard Deplorable, although let’s not pretend that he’s our last best hope either. In any case, it’s sort of amazing that this is a story: Politico reported yesterday that Kelly is trying to control the flow of right-wing nutter information to the president. As in, Kelly doesn’t want Trump to just sit around all day, reading right-wing propaganda.
Confronted with a West Wing that treated policymaking as a free-for-all, President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, is instituting a system used by previous administrations to limit internal competition — and to make himself the last word on the material that crosses the president’s desk.
It’s a quiet effort to make Trump conform to White House decision-making norms he’s flouted without making him feel shackled or out of the loop. In a conference call last week, Kelly initiated a new policymaking process in which just he and one other aide — White House staff secretary Rob Porter, a little-known but highly regarded Rhodes scholar who overlapped with Jared Kushner as an undergraduate at Harvard — will review all documents that cross the Resolute desk.
The new system, laid out in two memos co-authored by Kelly and Porter and distributed to Cabinet members and White House staffers in recent days, is designed to ensure that the president won’t see any external policy documents, internal policy memos, agency reports and even news articles that haven’t been vetted. Kelly’s deputy, Kristjen Nielson, is also expected to assume an integral role.
Politico notes that this is actually not a new thing, that many past presidents had their flow of information culled by senior staffers, mostly as a time-saving efficiency measure. The problem is that past presidents like Barack Obama and George HW Bush were huge readers, and their staffers didn’t have to worry that they would end up on some fringe website, reading some wingnut conspiracy theory and then repeating the theory on Twitter. Also: Donald Trump is not much of a reader, so maybe Kelly should simply take away Trump’s TV remote, because I really feel like Trump spends most of his days watching Fox News. Here’s Trump’s hilarious take on this story:
General John Kelly is doing a fantastic job as Chief of Staff. There is tremendous spirit and talent in the W.H. Don't believe the Fake News
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2017
KELLY IS LITERALLY TRYING TO KEEP FAKE NEWS OFF HIS DESK.
Speaking of alt-right propaganda, did you know that game respects game? Apparently, the Russian propaganda apparatus is 100% behind the alt-right propaganda media in America. Wheels within wheels, I’ll tell you.
Photos courtesy of Getty.