Since joining the White House as chief of staff, General John Kelly has sought to bring order to the West Wing. But to no one’s surprise, President Donald Trump is reportedly not happy about being controlled — and, in an act of teen rebellion, has been sneaking calls on his personal cell phone.
As the Washington Post reports, the White House pre-Kelly (as in, one month ago) was a very different place. Trump’s friends would apparently call the president to “gossip” and stop by the Oval Office to “say hello” as they pleased. But no more. Since the general — whom Trump loyalists reportedly refer to as “the church lady” — joined the ranks, calls are now routed through Kelly, and visitors need to make an official appointment and have a legitimate reason to meet with the president.
Per the Post:
But Trump sometimes defies — and even resents — the new structure. He has been especially sensitive to the way Kelly’s rigid structure is portrayed in the media and strives to disabuse people of the notion that he is being managed. The president continues to call business friends and outside advisers, including former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, from his personal phone when Kelly is not around, said people with knowledge of the calls.
Longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone told the Post that Trump “resists” being handled. “Nobody tells him who to see, who to listen to, what to read, what he can say,” Stone said. “General Kelly is trying to treat the president like a mushroom. Keeping him in the dark and feeding him [shit] is not going to work. Donald Trump is a free spirit.”
But as a Republican close to the White House points out to the Post, Trump is still capable of turning on the TV, making calls, using the internet, and reading the newspaper. So, much like the parent of a middle-school kid has little power, it looks like there’s not really that much Kelly can do to control the president.