August 01, 2017
THE PRESSURE IS ON — Yes, John Kelly made a dramatic mark on his first day as chief of staff firing controversial communications director Anthony Scaramucci. He also laid down the law to White House staffers, publicly saying that there would be a new chain of command — and he was at the top. The question remains whether Kelly can force order in an inherently chaotic environment. It also remains to be seen whether Kelly can actually stop top aides like Dan Scavino, Steve Bannon and others from going directly to Trump, not to mention Ivanka and Jared when they disagree with their new boss.
BIG QUESTIONS …
— WHO WILL BE THE NEXT COMMS DIRECTOR? Trump’s White House has struggled to fill the communications director position since the beginning of this administration. Mike Dubke didn’t last. Clearly, Scaramucci wasn’t a good fit. It’s unclear who Kelly will look to fill the critical role of trying to set the message for the administration. Several Republican sources floated BLAIN RETHMEIER as a potential replacement. Rethmeier, a veteran Republican communicator who has worked at trade associations and more recently at firms like Ditto PR and Edelman, has a relationship with Kelly. He was part of the sherpa team that helped get Kelly confirmed as DHS secretary. JASON MILLER is another communications vet who is perennially brought up to fill the top comms slot. Miller, who served as communications director of Trump’s campaign, currently is a CNN contributor and works at Teneo Strategy. Neither Rethmeier nor Miller responded to a request for comment.
— WHO WILL BE THE NEXT DHS SECRETARY? Republican sources said that the White House’s focus is on getting the West Wing in order before turning to fill Kelly’s slot at DHS. It’s unclear whether Trump will want to continue with a military official in the position, or turn to a more political operator. Either way, multiple sources said Trump’s operation wants someone who can be easily confirmed. House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) is on the shortlist for Kelly replacements. He’s got the experience and political chops. Others in the mix include: ICE acting director Thomas Homan and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, though Kobach would likely have a hard time getting confirmed.
— NOT ON THE SHORT LIST: “‘America’s toughest sheriff’ found guilty of criminal contempt,” by Ted Hesson: “A federal judge in Arizona found former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt on Monday for violating an order in a racial-profiling case. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton said the evidence in the case showed a ‘flagrant disregard’ for a 2011 court order that required the sheriff to stop detaining people unless they were suspected of a crime. The 85-year-old Arpaio, who lost a reelection bid last year, earned a reputation during his tenure for his tough stance against illegal immigration and headline-grabbing approach to criminal justice, dressing inmates in pink underwear and operating an open-air ‘tent city’ jail in the scorching Arizona heat.” http://politi.co/2tY307Y
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