The Wall Street Journal is reporting that, as a result of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly imposing "rigorous protocols" at the White House over the past five months, President Donald Trump has been looking for ways to work around him. Apparently, one of these workarounds is calling White House aides to his private residence in the dark of night and assigning them tasks that he instructs them not to share with Kelly. In addition, it's being reported that the President is, at times, bypassing other standard communication protocols.
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.
While the Trump administration declined to comment on the allegations, Mrs. Trump's people are denying her involvement, saying it's all "fake news."
. . . these are more anonymous sources peddling things that just aren’t true. The First Lady is focused on her own work in the East Wing.
The Hill reports that Kelly, who was hired in July of this year, used his first public appearance before the news media in October "to dismiss rumors of friction between himself and Drumpf." But while no one has presented any evidence of discord between the two men, WSJ infers that Trump may be a hard man to reign in.
Mr. Kelly has frequently said that it is his job to control the White House below the president, rather than the president himself. The president’s penchant for what one confidant dubbed “workarounds” to the new White House protocols shows the limits of Mr. Kelly’s approach.
But as WSJ reports:
Those who have watched the two men interact said their personalities are too different to ever be very close . . . But Mr. Trump continues to hold Mr. Kelly in high regard, these people say. He frequently calls out Mr. Kelly during his public appearances.
Regardless of whether or not the two men even like or hold each other in "high regard" or whether Mr. Kelly will be able to successfully control a Trump White House, one thing is clear -- Trump knows Kelly is watching.
At a briefing on Hurricane Maria relief efforts in Puerto Rico earlier in the fall, Mr. Trump noted Mr. Kelly’s presence in the back of the room.“He likes to keep a low profile; Look at him sitting in the back,” Mr. Trump continued. “But, boy, is he watching—you have no idea.”