Trump chief of staff John Kelly will leave the White House by the end of the year to go to a much better place: anywhere that isn’t the Trump White House. Of course, Kelly doesn’t deserve that place. What Kelly deserves is to stay on and remain totally ignored by Trump while occasionally bickering with Javanka and screaming profanities at the grotesque John Bolton from now until the end of time.
When Kelly arrived, he was going to be the guy who would finally rein in Trump’s worst impulses and bring order and discipline to Washington’s largest adult day care center. Remember that? Yeah, John Kelly didn’t do it. And it’s worth pointing out that’s General John Kelly who couldn’t restrain Trump. In fact, Trump and Kelly aren’t even on speaking terms at this point. So if a career military man can’t bring discipline to this shitshow, who the hell can?
So now Trump is looking to hire a new person to not listen to. Rumor had it that Pence chief of staff Nick Ayers was the president’s top choice. Ayers declined, presumably because he’s not insane, which alas, is a prerequisite for taking the job at this moment in time.
That’s because there’s the minor issue of Trump being the subject of multiple criminal investigations, including Robert Mueller’s, whose inquiry is about to make landfall on ill-prepared Trump Island. Perjury, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and money laundering are all on the table. That’s in addition to the fact that Trump is already an unindicted co-conspirator in a case of campaign finance fraud in which he directed Michael “Better Call Saul” Cohen to make hush payments to Trump’s mistresses during the campaign.
As has been well established by now, Trump places loyalty (fealty, really) to him above the Constitution, above the rule of law, above everything. Just ask James Comey or Sally Yates or Jeff Sessions about that. Therefore, it is entirely possible that Trump’s next chief of staff will at the very least witness crimes and cover-ups and/or will be asked to participate in crimes and cover-ups. Will the next chief of staff be strong and upstanding enough to resist Trump’s virtually inevitable instructions to do something illegal? Or will they go the route of Nixon chief of staff H.R. Haldeman and engage in perjury, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice to the tune of a prison term? I would argue that whoever is willing to take this job in this administration understands that not everything will be on the level.
Finally, whoever the next chief of staff is will have the unmistakable stink of Trump on him for the rest of his life. He will be that guy who was there when the whole thing went down. So it’s no wonder Trump is having a hard time getting people to take the job. I don’t know who will end up taking it, but I do know that whoever it is will have to be certifiable.