WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump wanted more discipline and structure in the West Wing, and expects to get that from the retired general taking over as the new chief of staff, a top White House official said Sunday.
Department Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is among the military officers past and present, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, with prominent roles in the administration.
“You know that he enjoys working with generals,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said.
Kelly was announced Friday as Trump’s second chief of staff and planned to begin work Monday, replacing Reince Priebus, a former Republican Party chairman who held the job for six months. The moved ended months of speculation about Priebus’ fate and came among infighting and turmoil in the early stages of the Trump White House.
“I think Reince was terribly effective, but was probably a little bit more laid-back and independent in the way he ran the office,” Mulvaney said. “And I think the president wants to go a different direction, wants a little bit more discipline, a little more structure in there.
Trump, in his Friday tweet announcing the retired Marine four-star general’s new assignment, called him “a Great American … and a Great Leader. John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration.”
Priebus held the post for fewer than 200 days, the shortest tenure for any president’s first chief of staff since the position was formally established in 1946. He was blamed by some within the White House for the failure of the Republican health care plan in Congress. Some Trump allies thought that Priebus’ longtime relationships with Republicans on Capitol Hill, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, also from Wisconsin, should have ensured the bill’s passage.