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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

With Scaramucci’s firing, can John Kelly bring stability to the White House?

The downfall of Anthony Scaramucci less than two weeks after taking his position is a move that Republicans hope would bring some stability and normality to the presidency

US president Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with newly sworn-in White House chief of staff John Kelly at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 31, 2017.  Jim Watson / AFP
US president Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with newly sworn-in White House chief of staff John Kelly at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 31, 2017. Jim Watson / AFP

Five hours after he was sworn in as the White House’s new chief of staff, John Kelly took his first decision - firing Donald Trump’s last hire.

The downfall of Anthony Scaramucci less than two weeks after taking his position is a move that Republicans hope would bring some stability and normality to the presidency.

The White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House communications director.

“Mr Scaramucci felt it was best to give chief of staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him all the best.”

The drama-free statement stood in contrast with the ten-day period of chaos and hyperbole that Mr Scaramucci brought to the job since he entered the building on July 21. Ironically, Mr Scaramucci was hired based on the recommendation of Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared to bring some order and a smoother flow to the president’s message according to The New York Times.

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Scaramucci out: Trump's controversial communications director is removed from White House post

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In that short period, Mr Scaramucci helped oust three aides, among them former chief of staff Reince Priebus; launched a foul-mouthed attack against two senior officials; called a journalist elitist; and threatened “to fire everybody.”

Mr Scaramucci’s own firing came at the request of Mr Kelly the Times said, and while Mr Trump was initially pleased with his former aide’s flamboyant approach, he changed his mind over the weekend.

Josh Kraushaar, politics editor at The National Journal, said: “Mr Trump doesn’t like it when staffers overshadow him.

“At first Mr Trump found Anthony Scaramucci’s antics and criticism of Reince Priebus amusing but after time it was clear that Scaramucci was stealing the headlines from the president and embarrassing him and his administration.”

Anthony Scaramucci was removed from his post as White House communications director after just 10 days. AP Photo
Anthony Scaramucci has been removed from his post as White House communications director after just 10 days. AP Photo

Giving Mr Kelly, a former marine general, the power to choose his own team is “already more authority than Mr Trump gave to Reince Priebus” said Mr Kraushaar.

“There is clear hierarchy within this White House today, more than there was yesterday, we will see how long this will last.”

Mr Kelly, known for his no-nonsense approach, could help bring some normality and stability to the Trump ship after a rocky start and stumbles in Congress, Mr Kraushaar said. “Mr Trump’s affinity to generals and an empowered chief of staff” would be welcomed by Congress, he said.

Others, however, have said the problem is in the product, not in the package at the White House.

“There is scant reason to think that Kelly will have any more success in imposing discipline on a president who has been just as chaotic in government as he was in running his business,” Max Boot, a military historian and foreign policy expert, said in Commentary magazine.

“Will Kelly be able to stop Trump from tweeting or stop Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, from having “walk-in” privileges to the Oval Office?” asked Mr Boot. His answer: “the problem is that, quite simply, no staffer can tell the president of the United States what to do.”

No replacement has been announced for Mr Scaramucci, who was escorted from the White House grounds after his firing.