Tags: Trump Administration | John Kelly | Kirstjen Nielsen | White House staff

Report: John Kelly's Chief of Staff Under Attack for Tough Tone

Report: John Kelly's Chief of Staff Under Attack for Tough Tone
Kirstjen Nielsen (AP)

By    |   Friday, 08 September 2017 05:57 PM

White House chief of staff John Kelly's deputy, Kirstjen Nielsen, has set a no-nonsense tone in the West Wing that has some comparing her to "Nurse Ratched" from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," according to news reports Friday.

"Gatekeepers are generally not beloved," said Jonathan Hoffman, assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, told Politico. "But that's why it's an important job."

Nielsen hired Hoffman at DHS, where she also served as Kelly's chief of staff when he headed the agency.

Kelly brought Nielsen, who holds degrees from Georgetown University and the University of Virginia Law School, with him when President Donald Trump named him to succeed chief of staff Reince Priebus.

According to Politico, "more than 10 senior administration officials and outside advisers" have said they believe Nielsen has been brought in to "clean up all the messes."

They also describe her as being "dismissive and lacking in collegiality."

"These people worry that Nielsen — who now occupies former chief strategist Steve Bannon's old office — is at risk of squandering the morale boost that accompanied the arrival of the four-star general and the hope for a fresh start," Politico reported.

Nielsen, for instance, "routinely cancels meetings with senior officials if someone shows up late," Politico reported.

In addition, "phone calls often go unreturned."

Nielsen also "controls time with Kelly the same way Kelly is seeking to control time with President Donald Trump — staffers who linger too long in the chief of staff's office are interrupted and hurried along."

Many likened Nielsen to "Nurse Ratched," the head nurse in the 1975 film "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," who rigidly presides over a mental hospital.

But Nielsen, who has established no personal relationship with President Trump, has her supporters.

"Kirstjen is a great addition to the White House and has been helpful in bringing fresh perspective and new structure to the team," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Counselor Kellyanne Conway also dismissed the attacks.

"She's hardly parachuted into the White House uninitiated," Conway told Politico.

"She's been the chief's chief at DHS for the first six months of this administration, when many of the major issues like the travel ban, wall construction, ICE, FEMA and DACA, were running through that Cabinet department."

Nielsen, she added, "neither expected nor sought her new position, but not unlike her immediate boss, Kelly, she is motivated by duty, honor and country."

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White House chief of staff John Kelly's deputy, Kirstjen Nielsen, has set a no-nonsense tone in the West Wing that has some comparing her to "Nurse Ratched" from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," according to news reports Friday."Gatekeepers are generally not beloved,"...
John Kelly, Kirstjen Nielsen, White House staff
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2017-57-08
Friday, 08 September 2017 05:57 PM
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