I don’t often commend the New York Times for putting up what appears to be neutral news coverage about President Trump. But today’s article about the departure of Reince Priebus as Chief Of Staff seems to fall into that category.
Here are the first few paragraphs of Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman’s article:
Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff who failed to impose order on a chaos-racked West Wing, was pushed out on Friday after a stormy six-month tenure, and President Trump replaced him with John F. Kelly, the secretary of homeland security and retired four-star Marine general.
Mr. Trump announced the change via Twitter while sitting aboard Air Force One on a tarmac outside Washington minutes after returning from Long Island. Mr. Priebus, who had joined the president on the trip and never let on to other passengers what was about to occur, stepped off the plane into a drenching rain, ducked into a car and was driven away without comment.
Mr. Trump then emerged under a large umbrella and praised his outgoing and incoming chiefs. “Reince is a good man,” Mr. Trump shouted to nearby reporters. “John Kelly will do a fantastic job. General Kelly has been a star, done an incredible job thus far, respected by everybody, a great, great, American. But Reince Priebus — a good man.”
Mr. Priebus’s ouster was the latest convulsion in a White House that has been whipsawed by feuds and political setbacks in recent days. The president became convinced that Mr. Priebus was not strong enough to run the White House operation and told him two weeks ago that he wanted to make a change, according to White House officials. Intrigued at the idea of putting a general in charge, Mr. Trump offered the job to Mr. Kelly a few days ago.
Mr. Priebus said he had tendered his resignation to the president on Thursday, the same day the newly appointed White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, was quoted vowing to force the chief of staff out. Even so, as late as Friday morning, Mr. Priebus told colleagues that he thought he would have a week before the announcement to make a graceful exit, but he evidently learned otherwise later in the day. Mr. Kelly will take over the corner office in the West Wing on Monday.
Mr. Priebus said after the announcement that he had always made clear to Mr. Trump that when the president thought it was time for a new chief, he would support that. “The president has a right to change directions,” he said on CNN. “The president has a right to hit a reset button. I think it’s a good time to hit the reset button.”
He expressed no bitterness about his removal. “I’m always going to be a Trump fan,” he said. “I’m on Team Trump, and I look forward to helping him achieve his goals and his agenda for the American people.”
That says it all, and very well.
Mr. Priebus, formerly Chairperson of the Republican National Committee (RNC), was pretty clearly not getting the job done as Chief Of Staff. I don’t know if it was because of circumstances beyond his control, people around him subverting his efforts or because he just wasn’t up to the job (something I very much doubt, given his success at the RNC). But, regardless, the bottom line was that he had to be replaced.
Will General Kelly be more successful? We’ll soon find out.