Even the Marines Couldn’t Prepare John Kelly For What He’ll Have To Do For Donald Trump

Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley/Coast Guard

Retired general John Kelly, a man who has defined his entire life’s work on service to the United States as a former Marine general and secretary of Homeland Security, is now in a position that even four decades in the US military may not have prepared him for. Not in this White House, with Donald Trump as commander-in-chief.

Being a White House chief of staff can be and often is a thankless job. This person has to manage the paper flow that goes into the Oval Office, be on top of the president’s legislative agenda, keep the boss happy, and be everything and anything that the president wants him or her to be. If the chief can leave the White House after a twelve-hour day, it’s considered going home early.

Kelly needs to do all of this and more. And “the more” involves everything from ensuring that competing staffers don’t embarrass the administration in the press to dealing with the kinds of Type-A, machismo personalities that can make any workplace unbearable. In the little over two weeks that Kelly has been the top staffer, he’s tried to get everybody on board with the new program. The $64,000 question is whether a life-long Marine who values discipline and results can instill those qualities within the rank-and-file.

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