Tuesday, 01 August 2017

"The Mooch" Is Out; Is New Chief of Staff John Kelly the Sheriff This White House Needs?

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In what seems like the latest episode of The Apprentice but is in fact just another day in the Trump White House, Anthony Scaramucci (nicknamed “The Mooch") has been ousted as communications director after just 10 days in the position. According to Politico, the decision followed a recommendation by new chief of staff John Kelly (shown), who started only on Monday in the role. And while Scaramucci’s exit is no loss to the Republicans or to the voters, he marks the 10th key White House staff member to be removed since Trump took office on January 20, underscoring just how chaotic this administration truly is.

President Trump employed a defensive stance in anticipation of what the media and voters will speculate over Scaramucci’s departure by tweeting the following: “Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages raising, border secure, SC: no WH chaos!”

He also tweeted, “It’s a great day at the White House.”

Under most circumstances, conservatives would view Scaramucci’s ousting as a “great day in the White House.” After all, he is a pro-choice, anti-Second Amendment progressive who has in the past donated to Barack Obama and vocally supported Hillary Clinton. Critics wondered whether his credentials had earned him a role in the White House, as he had no political experience whatsoever, but seemed to prove his worth to President Trump by being a fierce loyalist (at least recently, though it took a while for Scaramucci to jump on the Trump train). Evidently, that was not enough for him to keep his position as communications director.

Fox News reports that President Trump was unhappy with Scaramucci’s expletive-laden interview with the New Yorker magazine, in which “the Mooch” attacked then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and White House advisor Steve Bannon.

"The president certainly felt that Anthony's comments were inappropriate for a person in that position," spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.

However, the frequent turnover in the White House should be an embarrassment to the Trump administration and to the Republican Party, even if its nomination of the New York business mogul was a begrudging one.

It’s possible that all of this turmoil is intended to be a distraction so voters do not notice just how impotent this White House has been. This week witnessed yet another failed effort to overhaul ObamaCare, and Fox Business reports that the U.S. dollar hit a more than two-year low against the euro on Monday. And thus far, the most significant campaign promise that President Trump has upheld was his nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

But while Scaramucci’s abrupt departure is fodder for critics to note the current disorder at the White House, Digital Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt contends that Scaramucci’s removal could be the start of Trump’s “comeback.”

“If Donald Trump is ultimately a successful president, we may look back on this week or two and say this is the moment the comeback started,” Stirewalt said. “You have to hurt enough … that you become willing to make a change.”

Stirewalt believes that General John Kelly may be that “change” that Trump needs to fix the chaotic staffing situation at the White House. "We see discipline emerging out of the fog of chaos and mercurial staff changes," Stirewalt said.

In fact, Fox Business reports that the White House has changed from its previous procedure so that all staff, including Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, now will have to report directly to General Kelly.

However, the New York Times points out that Trump had given Reince Priebus the same assurances of control, “and then proceeded to undercut and ignore him — to the point where Mr. Priebus often positioned himself at the door of the Oval Office to find out whom the president was talking to.”

Still, for now at least, Kelly is in charge, and according to Politico, senior White House aides have expressed that there was “no way” Scaramucci and Kelly could have worked together.

Scaramucci, in his short tenure at the White House, brought the very chaos to the White House staff that Kelly is now being called upon to organize. Scaramucci's entrance resulted in the exits of Press Secretary Sean Spicer and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

The president also threatened to fire all White House press office employees if leaks did not stop.

Photo of John Kelly: U.S. Department of Defense

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