President Donald Trump is in the habit of circumventing the discipline imposed by Chief of Staff John Kelly by calling aides to the West Wing late at night for secret meetings and assignments.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump summons staffers to his private residence in the evening to make plans with the promise that Kelly will be kept in the dark. A source states that on one occasion a staffer said no, fearing the wrath of Kelly should he find out.
The report notes that Trump also makes unscheduled calls to confidantes outside the White House so Kelly can't monitor them.
In an effort to reach the president without Kelly's knowledge, some of Trump's outside advisers and friends have taken to contacting First Lady Melania Trump in order to pass on a message 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 explained.
Kelly assumed the position of Chief of Staff with the understanding that he would eliminate the chaos in the West Wing that reigned under former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. However Trump has continued with his unpredictable ways.
“John has been successful at putting in place a stronger chain of command in the White House, requiring people to go through him to get to the Oval Office,” explained Leon Panetta, White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton. “The problem has always been whether or not the president is going to accept better discipline in the way he operates. He’s been less successful at that.”
According to the report, Kelly has brought some order at the White House by telling staffers there to stop patching through calls from Trump friends outside the administration who want to influence the president.
Kelly has notably stopped some aides from barging in on the president and distracting him from his scheduled presidential duties.