Two of President Donald Trump’s newest additions to the West Wing are now bypassing White House chief of staff John Kelly and are being treated like “mini-executives” by the president.
CNN reported Thursday that Trump’s new national security adviser John Bolton and economics czar Larry Kudlow report directly to the president and have “wide unilateral prerogative for their own areas of focus,” two senior sources within the administration said. Their wide berth is reportedly reminiscent of the president’s leadership style at the Trump Organization.
According to the report, one of the first instances of Bolton’s leeway to run the national security council as he pleases came just days after he began in the West Wing “when he informed homeland security adviser Tom Bossert that he was giving him the boot.”
“A stunned Bossert asked to speak to Kelly immediately,” one of CNN’s sources said, noting that Bolton, in response, “made clear that this was not Kelly’s decision to make.”
Though Kelly reportedly let that initial firing slide, the chief of staff was “frustrated” after Bolton moved to fire deputy national security adviser Ricky Waddell, who was handpicked by former national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Kelly “fervently advocated” to keep the deputy adviser on, but was overruled by Bolton, “who said he wanted his own person in that position.”
“Bolton,” one of CNN’s sources mused, “is reasserting the authority of the national security adviser over the chief of staff.”