Not long after taking over as President Donald Trump’s new chief of staff, retired general John Kelly told hundreds of White House staffers to put the country first and the president second.
“Country, President, Self,” Kelly told White House staffers gathered for a pep talk at the entryway to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, according to a profile on the general published by Time magazine on August 10.
The phrasing comes from the well-known “God, Country, Corps” saying often used by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Kelly went on to tell his team of Trump staffers to put aside egos and personal squabbles and stop leaking information from the White House, Time reports:
The Kelly effect on White House operations was immediate. He told everyone in the West Wing to report to him and not the President, including, at least in theory, “Javanka,” Washington’s nickname for Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump. He squelched the flow of unvetted paper to the President, which had sometimes led to erroneous tweets and anecdotes; he listened in on Trump’s conversations with other Cabinet officers. In meetings, he cut off ramblers and told bickering aides to work out their differences before they arrived. Patrolling the West Wing, he told aides to stay in their offices instead of loitering in clumps of five or six outside the Oval Office and trying to catch the President’s eye. (As a result, some White House officials are spending more time on television; it is known to be an excellent way to attract the President’s attention.) And he backed National Security Adviser McMaster, who had been trying for months to remove troublesome allies of Bannon’s without success. Other staff changes are expected. One West Wing aide called the White House under Kelly a “more sane environment.”
While Kelly takes over as Trump’s chief of staff at a time of staff turnover, some expect him to bring order to the White House. As a start, he told leaders of White House factions to report to him — rather than Trump — with news.
Read the rest of Time magazine’s profile of John Kelly here.
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