Tags: White House chief of staff John Kelly | Leon Panetta | Sen. Tom Cotton

Kelly Largely Going It Alone in WH Chief of Staff Role

Kelly Largely Going It Alone in WH Chief of Staff Role
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (AP)

By    |   Friday, 06 October 2017 05:50 PM

White House chief of staff John Kelly has largely gone it alone in his new job, having minimal contact with those who've most recently served as gatekeepers to a president before him, Politico reported.

In his first two months in the position, the retired four-star Marine general and former Homeland Security secretary hasn't returned offers of help in calls from former President Barack Obama chiefs of staff Rahm Emanuel and Bill Daley, the outlet reported.

Nor has he spoken at length to former President Clinton chief of staff Leon Panetta, with whom Kelly worked when Panetta served as defense secretary.

"I don't really talk to him that much," Panetta told Politico. "It's a little tough when you're not there, getting a kind of first-hand sense of exactly how things are operating."

The relative isolation may be due in part because Kelly has already served as a Cabinet secretary and had regular interactions with the West Wing and president, the outlet noted. And he's also from a different mold than civilians before him — only the second modern-day general to hold the post of chief of staff, after Alexander Haig, the Army general who served as chief of staff to former President Richard Nixon.

A White House official told Politico Kelly has, in fact, reached out to former chiefs, but wouldn't provide any names.

"What civilians don't realize is after you've been a company commander at every level, you have been a staff officer for a commander," Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton told Politico. "As much as he is known for his battlefield exploits, he is prepared to be a staffer to a principal."

Yet the part of his job that is new involves moving a domestic policy agenda through Capitol Hill, Politico reported.

"In a normally functioning White House, the chief of staff is relied upon by leadership in both parties to be able to speak for the president, to negotiate, and to be able to give commitments with the expectation that you would keep your word," former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, John Podesta, told Politico.

"That means operating in a political world. As a senior military officer, that probably wasn't where he thought his basic strength lay when he took the job."

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White House chief of staff John Kelly has largely gone it alone in his new job, having minimal contact with those who've most recently served as gatekeepers to a president before him, Politico reported.In his first two months in the position, the retired four-star Marine...
White House chief of staff John Kelly, Leon Panetta, Sen. Tom Cotton
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2017-50-06
Friday, 06 October 2017 05:50 PM
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