Under the Radar

Sound Off: Did General Kelly Just Get Demoted?

On Friday, President Trump fired White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus via tweet and announced that the Secretary of Homeland Security, retired Marine General John Kelly, would take over the job.

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Created after the 9/11 attacks, the Department of Homeland Security is tasked with protecting our borders and has centralized the command of agencies that previously didn't always communicate with each other.  The Coast Guard, the Secret Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Border Patrol, he Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Protective Service all fell under Kelly's supervision.

Considering President Trump's emphasis on immigration and border security, Secretary Kelly held one of the key positions in the current administration. As a cabinet member, he was included in the presidential line of succession.

Kelly had a storied military career that included service as commanding general of the Multi-National Force West in Iraq in 2008-2009 and as commander of U.S. Southern Command, responsible for American military operations in Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Historically, White House Chief of Staff has been a powerful position that controls who has direct access to the president, acting as a buffer between the commander-in-chief and the rest of his administration. President Trump has done things differently. The list of people who were rumored to have direct access to the president while Priebus had the job included Steve Bannon, Anthony Scaramucci, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

Trump also saw "Reincey" as a subordinate instead of an advisor empowered to stand up the president while looking out for his interests. There's a rumor (buried in paragraph 37 of this Washington Post story) that Trump once asked his Chief of Staff to kill a fly that was annoying him during a White House meeting.

Can anyone imagine how General Kelly might respond to that?

Obviously, the president asked and Kelly agreed. Still, the general had a unique skill set that was a great fit with the Department of Homeland Security and his leadership will be missed there. What do you think? Would Kelly be more effective in his old job or do you think he can tame the circus and stop the leaks from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave? Sound off!

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