OPINION | Trump chooses wisely: Kelly in, Scaramucci out
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Today was a potentially historic day for the Trump presidency: It was the first day for retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly as President TrumpDonald TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial MORE's chief of staff, and it was the end of Anthony Scaramucci's short tenure as the White House communications director.

The arrival of Kelly and departure of Scaramucci might well be a dramatic inflection point in the presidency of Donald Trump; only time will tell.


Until today, Trump has never had a White House chief of staff, in the conventional meaning of the post. Reince Priebus was a highly respected Republican figure during his tenure, but he lacked the stature and toughness to take command and control of the White House staff in the manner that a successful chief must.

Kelly is a highly decorated war hero and was a take-charge Marine Corps commander who knows how to lead men and women, how to manage large organizations and how to work with superior officers. These skills are all urgently needed in the Trump White House. Kelly has them all in spades.

Scaramucci made rash, hostile and intemperate comments as soon as he was elevated to the post of White House communications director. He lacked the skill set to lead any high-profile political communications team. He also completely lacked discretion and judgment in dealing with the major media, which was proven by his failure to say that his bizarre and ill-fated comments to The New Yorker were off the record from the beginning.

Kelly was an outstanding choice to be chief of staff of a White House that has devolved into a collection of warring factions and highly ambitious, sometimes uncontrollable personalities. Scaramucci had to go. The only question was how quickly he would self-destruct as communications chief. His profane rants last week were a disaster.

Kelly, to all Republicans and Americans who want to restore normality and professionalism to the White House staff, is a welcome addition. There will now be major tests for the president, for Kelly and for others who remain in the White House.

For President Trump, whatever else one thinks of him, made a good choice for the White House chief of staff. Kelly is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Trump team. The test for the president will be whether he listens carefully to Gen. Kelly's advice and respects his authority as chief of staff. Kelly's job is to serve the interests of the president.

The challenge for Kelly will be whether he can successfully navigate the volatile temperament of the president, respecting his presidential authority and serving him, while also closing the door and sometimes offering the president advice he does not want to hear.

The test for other White house advisers — particularly Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon — will be whether they can accept Kelly's authority as chief without trying to undermine him.

Today was a major day for the Trump presidency. Kelly was a good choice for chief at a difficult time for the Trump presidency.  

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then-chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics. 

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