Ivanka Trump is reportedly playing a central role in looking to replace John Kelly, the White House chief of staff. Kelly has been assigned the task of screening who meets with the president, and that includes Donald Trump’s own daughter and son-in-law/senior adviser, Jared Kushner. Kelly and Trump have been at odds in the press as well, which is allegedly one of the reasons behind the president wanting to remove him.
Vanity Fair‘s Gabriel Sherman reveals in his article that two “prominent Republicans in frequent contact with the White House” have informed him that President Trump has discussed John Kelly’s successor in recent days and asked a close friend what he thought about David Urban, a veteran lobbyist who was instrumental in helping Trump win Pennsylvania in the 2016 election.
According to the report, Ivanka Trump is “quietly” behind the search to replace Kelly by field-testing ideas with people.
“Ivanka is the most worried about it. She’s trying to figure who replaces Kelly,” says a source who talked with Ivanka.
An outside adviser explains that Kelly’s departure isn’t imminent and that he intends to stay longer than his predecessor, Reince Priebus. Moreover, the concept of having another high-level staff exit would spark another negative news cycle.
Trump is said to be angry with Kelly on a number of issues, including comments on immigration regarding how the president has supposedly “evolved” in his views on building the border wall. Their relationship has been “deteriorating for months” and Republican close to the White House says it drives Trump “nuts” that there’s this narrative that Kelly is the “adult in the room.” The president has expressed frustration to friends that Kelly acts like he’s running the government while he tweets and watches television.
“I’ve got another nut job here who thinks he’s running things,” Trump allegedly told one friend, according to a Republican who was briefed on the call.
A second source confirmed that Trump has went off about Kelly. The president ripped Kelly in another phone call saying, “This guy thinks he’s running the show.”
— The Hive (@VFHIVE) January 22, 2018
It’s noted in the report that a White House official pushed back by saying “it’s categorically false that Trump is unhappy with Kelly.”
For John Kelly’s part, he’s had his moments of frustration with the president, complaining to a colleague that he was “holding it together” after Trump stirred outrage with Charlottesville comments. The four-star Marine general was also photographed looking exasperated when Trump called Kim Jong-un “rocket man” at a U.N. assembly.
A few days ago The New York Times reported that Kelly has threatened to quit numerous times.
It’s unknown what candidates Ivanka Trump might be looking at in the search to replace John Kelly.