Aug 6, 2017

Kelly tames Trump... for now

Susan Walsh / AP

New White House Chief of Staff John Kelly "is testing his authority to tame Trump's sometimes reckless tweeting habits," according to a startling tidbit from Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs and Margaret Talev:

  • "While Kelly isn't vetting every presidential tweet, Trump has shown a willingness to consult with his chief of staff before hitting 'send' on certain missives that might cause an international uproar or lead to unwelcome distractions."
  • "Kelly has been 'offering a different way to say the same thing.'"

Why it matters: Trump has proven impervious to previous chances for a reset: when he became the nominee, when he won the election, when he was inaugurated. If the retired Marine four-star general is curbing him after a week on the job, that's a big achievement.

But, but, but ... Two problems with this:

  1. We've written before about how advisers talk openly about Trump as if he were a naughty child. They have tried giving Trump "better choices" for tweeting by trying to distract him with something more substantive, but those efforts never took during the campaign or during the first 200 days (tomorrow!) of the administration.
  2. The more stories about how Kelly is reining in Trump, restraining Trump, controlling Trump, ... the more likely Trump is to rebel against his minder, regardless of the initial deference he has shown. Trump loves his generals, but guarantee you he still sees himself as the boss.

Funny quote, from a friend: "This'll only be operative till Trump watches 'Morning Joe' and gets pissed off."

Go deeper

George Zimmerman sues Buttigieg and Warren for $265M

George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, in November 2013. Photo: Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman filed a lawsuit in Polk County, Fla. seeking $265 million in damages from Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, accusing them of defaming him to "garner votes in the black community."

Context: Neither the Massachusetts senator nor the former Southbend mayor tweeted his name in the Feb. 5 posts on what would've been the 25th birthday of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen Zimmerman fatally shot in 2012. But Zimmerman alleges they "acted with actual malice" to defame him.

4 takeaways from the Nevada Democratic debate

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The relative civility of the last eight Democratic debates was thrown by the wayside Wednesday night, the first debate to feature the billionaire "boogeyman," Michael Bloomberg, whose massive advertising buys and polling surge have drawn the ire of the entire field.

The big picture: Pete Buttigieg captured the state of the race early on, noting that after Super Tuesday, the "two most polarizing figures on this stage" — Bloomberg and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders — could be the only ones left competing for the nomination. The rest of candidates fought to stop that momentum.

Klobuchar squares off with Buttigieg on immigration

Buttigieg and Klobuchar in Las Vegas on Feb. 19. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg went after Sen. Amy Klobuchar on the debate stage Wednesday for voting to confirm Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and voting in 2007 to make English the national language.

What she's saying: "I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete, but let me tell you what it's like to be in the arena. ... I did not one bit agree with these draconian policies to separate kids from their parents, and in my first 100 days, I would immediately change that."