Kelly Sets Ground Rules for Information Flow in White House

Recently appointed White House chief of staff John Kelly, has set ground rules that any information intended for President Donald Trump must first pass by him, Politico reports.

Kelly took over the post from Reince Priebus on Monday. But unlike Priebus, who allowed staff members to meet directly with Trump or to leave information for him to read on his desk, Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, has set up a military-style chain of command. The purpose is to see that the president gets good information rather than a mishmash of sometimes conflicting reports.

“John Kelly knows the challenges he is facing,” Leon Panetta, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, told Politico. Panetta talked to Kelly shortly after he took over as chief of staff.

“He’s not going to just stand to the side and watch the White House fall apart piece by piece,” Panetta said.

Kelly basically said, “The president has to get good briefings, he has to get good intelligence,” Politico quoted one senior White House official. “We have to be putting him in a position to make good decisions.” he added.

Still, Politico reported, Kelly isn’t likely to have an easy time of it. Though he has persuaded daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner to go along with the new rules,Trump is still likely to want to tweet and talk to friends and family on the phone after hours.

Trump has a reported habit of consuming information from all corners, whether it is reliable or not, and will often act on the last information he received. One set of advisers might persuade him early in the day, but they’re overruled by another group later, simply because they got the last word.

He also has been known to trust reports he sees on the news more than the classified reports he has access to, Politico reported. Kelly himself is aware he can’t completely control Trump’s habits.

“He’s not under the impression he can tell Donald Trump, ‘Oh, you’re going to do it my way’. He’s not delusional about it.” a Kelly associate told Politico.

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