The Wall Street Journal reports: Chief of Staff John Kelly over the past five months has imposed discipline and rigorous protocols on a freewheeling White House. But President Donald Trump has found the loopholes.
The president on occasion has called White House aides to the private residence in the evening, where he makes assignments and asks them not tell Mr. Kelly about the plans, according to several people familiar with the matter. At least once, aides have declined to carry out the requested task so as not to run afoul of Mr. Kelly, one of these people said.
The president, who values counsel from an informal group of confidants outside the White House, also sometimes bypasses the normal scheduling for phone calls that give other White House staff, including Mr. Kelly, some control and influence over who the president talks to and when.
Instead, some of his friends have taken to calling Melania Trump and asking her to pass messages to her husband, according to two people familiar with the matter. They say that since she arrived in the White House from New York in the summer, the first lady has taken on a more central role as a political adviser to the president.
“If I don’t want to wait 24 hours for a call from the president, getting to Melania is much easier,” one person said. [Continue reading…]