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T.J. Kirkpatrick for The Wall Street Journal; used by license

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told me last weekend that the arrival of Anthony Scaramucci would mean "a fresh start" for the West Wing. This wasn't what he had in mind.

  • Landing in the rain at Andrews Air Force Base, Trump tweeted that his new chief of staff would be his Homeland Security secretary, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, age 67: "He is a Great American ... and a Great Leader. ... He has been a true star of my Administration."
  • Trump loves generals — his Cabinet is unusually heavy with them.
  • One West Wing confidant emails: "Trump is casting his show. Generals are all-purpose actors in a supporting role."

As an afterthought, Trump sent a separate tweet thanking Reince Priebus for his service. Priebus, whose 190-day tenure was the shortest in history for a non-interim White House chief of staff, had become so weak internally that one aide called him "the Chief of No Staff":

  • From the beginning, Trump had derisively referred to him as "Reincey" or "my genius Reince."
  • Axios' Jonathan Swan, in his instant analysis: "[T]he Oval Office resembled a 'rolling craps game' ... Multiple senior officials have told me he 'gums up' the system and by the end was almost solely in survival mode."
  • "[N]ot a single senior White House official came out to defend him as ... Scaramucci pummeled him on TV and accused him of being the building's chief leaker."

A top aide told me Kelly will "professionalize" the West Wing. My scouting report:

  • Kelly has a reputation for efficient management of complex organizations, and is a no-nonsense guy who can make the trains run on time.
  • He looks the part, always big with President Trump.
  • Kelly won't tolerate a disruptive environment, and will try to normalize the reporting lines that usually would go to the chief of staff but have been going directly to the President.
  • Swan was told: "He was given full authority. Everyone goes through him."
  • One big challenge: Trump doesn't like to be told what to do, even by his generals.
  • Amazing quote from an outside adviser to the West Wing: "Kelly, being a mature general, may finally be able to get Donald to pivot into a presidential dynamic."

Besides reining in Trump, Kelly's other big challenge will be corralling a staff that has run wild.

One top official told me: "No one says 'Yes, sir' in this White House. We say: 'F--- you.'"

P.S. ABC's Jon Karl reported on "World News Tonight" that one of the candidates to replace Kelly at Homeland Security is ... Attorney General Jeff Sessions!

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Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

The latest: Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne identified the 400 Mawozo gang as the group responsible, in a statement to AP.

Hollywood union reaches deal with studios to avert strike

Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

A Hollywood workers' union reached a tentative deal with studios, networks and streamers that will guarantee better working conditions, meal breaks and increased wages for low-paid workers, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) announced Saturday night.

Why it matters: The deal, which still needs to be ratified by IATSE members, will avert a nationwide strike by film and television workers that was set to start Monday. It would have been the first strike in the union's 128-year history.

Bill Clinton released from hospital following treatment for non-COVID infection

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former President Bill Clinton was discharged from the University of California, Irvine Medical Center on Sunday, nearly a week after he was admitted for a non-COVID-related infection, according to his spokesperson Angel Ureña.

What they're saying: "His fever and white blood cell count are normalized and he will return home to New York to finish his course of antibiotics," wrote Dr. Alpesh Amin, who has been overseeing the team of doctors treating Clinton. "On behalf of everyone at UC Irvine Medical Center, we were honored to have treated him and will continue to monitor his progress."

Worth noting: Clinton had a urinary tract infection that spread to his bloodstream, per CNN.

  • The California-based medical team had been administering IV antibiotics and fluids, and was in constant communication with Clinton's New York team, including his cardiologist, according to the former president's physicians.
  • President Biden spoke by phone with Clinton on Friday to see how he was doing, and the catch-up included a discussion of recent politics.