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The Gatekeepers

Have you been in touch with John Kelly? That was a question posed to former Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush Josh Bolten about current Chief of Staff Kelly to President Trump. “You know, not really. I mean, we met several times on several occasions and he’s always been very gracious and said: ‘Oh, we need to get together and talk,’ but when you’re Chief of Staff it’s pretty hard to call us in the middle of the day and say: ‘Why don’t I call up that guy who had this job ten years ago and see if he can help me with this budget negotiation.’ It doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Denis (McDonough, President Obama’s COS) was extraordinarily gracious in reaching out to his predecessors, but he was in a different environment. John Kelly is fighting a pretty big fire every day. Not to say that Denis and I didn’t, but he’s fighting a really different kind of fire. I think he’s a distinguished public servant, a patriot, trying to do a hard job under, I would guess, the hardest circumstances of any of us that has ever gotten that job.” The occasion was Institute for Education’s (IFE) 27th Season Kickoff INFO Salon with West Wing Gatekeepers: Demystifying the Role of Chief of Staff hosted by H.E. The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium Dirk Wouters and IFE’s founder Kathy Kemper. Kelly, of course, has found himself in a maelstrom of controversy which began shortly before the event started by what most would consider the mishandling of the Rob Porter scandal, White House Staff Secretary to President Trump.