I wrote about how important John Kelly is to the Trump White House in my Politico column today:
With all the negative press coverage of the Porter fiasco, stories inevitably emerged of Trump’s thinking about a replacement for Kelly. If Trump were actually to dump him, it’d be his most destructive personnel move since firing FBI Director James Comey.
Trump wouldn’t get someone whom he admires as much. The president respects military men and billionaires, and perhaps the former even a little more than the latter. Kelly, the Marine general who lost a son in Afghanistan, can speak to Trump peer to peer in a way almost every Washington politico can’t.
Trump wouldn’t find someone else who is so clearly in it for the right reasons. Kelly didn’t want the position and repeatedly refused it when it was first offered. He has no interest in jockeying for his next big Washington job or in cashing in. It’s hard to imagine any high-level White House official in recent memory who has genuinely cared less about his press coverage.
Trump wouldn’t find a comparable enforcer. Kelly’s military bearing and no-nonsense demeanor serve him well in the cockpit of Trump world. His extensive leadership experience in even more complicated, high-pressure situations has prepared him for an environment in which chaos and the sense of crisis constantly emanate from the top.
In short, it is Kelly or bust. Trump should consider himself fortunate to have him, and avoid the fool’s errand of trying to find an improvement.