A chagrined President Donald Trump has increasingly left White House chief of staff John Kelly out of the loop because he felt "shackled" by him.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that according to White House insiders, Trump was "tired of being told no" by Kelly — and many of his more controversial recent decisions, such as congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin on winning what many consider a "sham" election, were made without the chief of staff's input.
According to another of the dozen insiders the AP spoke to on condition of anonymity, "once the rumors begin that an aide’s exit is forthcoming, the 'stink' on that staffer never leaves" in Trump's West Wing. Because such speculation has been circulated about Kelly, people inside the White House fear that "chaos could return" as the chief of staff's "public profile and behind-the-scenes influence has faded."
The AP's report noted that although Kelly lobbied the president to oust former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, he advised him against hiring neoconservative pundit John Bolton. Trump, however, offered Bolton the job in a private Oval Office meeting — and told his chief of staff about it after the fact.
In the early days of his tenure as chief of staff, Kelly was able to reign in Trump from speaking to and seeing controversial ex-aides. Recently, four of AP's sources said, Trump shirked Kelly's control and allowed controversial former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski into the White House after the chief of staff was "overruled."
Trump, AP reported, has "privately contemplated about recreating the freewheeling nature of his campaign and Trump Tower office."