As President Donald Trump’s current Chief of Staff, John Kelly, prepares to vacate his post by the end of the year, a new report has emerged alleging that First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, might have played key roles in steering him towards the exit.
Kelly is just the latest in a long line of Trump administration officials to abruptly depart from the White House, and his sparring with various other members of the president’s inner circle was never exactly a secret. But according to the Washington Post, Kelly’s downfall might have come directly in response to his soured relationship with Ivanka and Jared, both of whom currently serve as senior advisors to the president.
A retired four-star Marine Corps general, Kelly was brought on in July 2017 to replace former Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff, and had been tasked with the unenviable job of trying to rein in the president’s more impish impulses. Those bad habits notoriously included late-night tweetstorms and long stretches of time spent watching Fox News morning shows — tendencies that Kelly reportedly tried to combat by instituting a top-down structure within a chaotic White House so that Trump would be better incentivized to focus on policy-making.
But not long after his tenure as Chief of Staff began, Kelly reportedly became frustrated by how easily other members of the administration could bypass that newly-established chain of command in order to grab the president’s ear — including, notably, Kushner. Privately, Kelly had previously expressed concern that Kushner appeared to have "free range to function outside his lane," and had also told well-placed sources that Ivanka appeared to be "playing government," according to CNN.
The New York Times reported that Kelly is "furious" at the pair and that he kept notes "about Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump and the things that they had done or requested, which he conspicuously left on his desk in view of his staff."
Despite Kelly telling the Times in a November 2017 interview that there was, "honestly never a time when I contemplated getting rid of Jared and Ivanka,” the couple reportedly began to regard his continued presence in the White House "as a hurdle to their father's success and as antagonistic to their continued presence." Rumors of an increasingly uncomfortable relationship between the parties continued to swirl until last weekend, when President Trump officially announced the retired general’s departure.
"John Kelly will be leaving,” Trump told reporters outside the White House on Saturday. “I don't know if I can say 'retiring.'"
Although we may never know for sure what finally ended Kelly’s tenure as Chief of Staff, at least one thing seems clear: No matter how many high-ranking officials depart from the Trump administration, Jared and Ivanka — as long as President Trump has any say in the matter — are likely to stick around for the foreseeable future.