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    Academic on Kelly's Departure: Who Wants to be the Executive on a Sinking Ship?

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    John Francis Kelly, a retired US Marine Corps general and former White House chief of staff for President Donald Trump, has resigned, prompting speculation about growing turbulence in the administration. Speaking to Sputnik, Professor Daniel P. Franklin shared his views on the reasons behind Kelly quitting and the White House's political future.

    "I actually think this administration is beyond saving", says Daniel P. Franklin, an associate professor of political science at Georgia State University, commenting on the resignation of John Francis Kelly, a retired US Marine Corps general and former White House chief of staff for US President Donald Trump. "A good chief of staff could save it if all that he faced was organizational disarray.  But it is so much worse than that".

    It was reported on 7 December that Kelly was expected to resign following his interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team. It was reported that the chief of staff had responded to Mueller's questions regarding potential obstruction of justice and was no longer on speaking terms with Trump. Kelly resigned over the weekend. According to White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway, Kelly will remain in the job through 2 January.

    "First let me say that it is hard to underestimate the importance of the position of chief of staff in any presidential administration", Franklin told Sputnik. "The Executive Office of the Presidency (the EOP) is a large and complex organization and it cannot operate well without firm control at the top.  The president can't do this because the president has responsibilities beyond his own personal office". 

    It's up to the chief of staff to order the president's routine and prioritize the president's time, the academic elaborated. "There are infinite demands on the president and a finite amount of time to do it", he said. "A good chief of staff prioritizes the president's time both in terms of the amount of time a president spends on an issue and the priority in political and policy terms of an issue".

    "Usually high ranking military officers have outstanding organizational skills but they often lack political savvy", he continued. "Gen. Kelly managed to control the organization but not the man, Donald Trump". 

    The professor insisted that the Trump administration will continue to underperform unless the president "put[s] himself in the hands of a trusted adviser such as a strong chief of staff". "And the problem that the president has is that the people he trusts do not have the competencies necessary to make a good chief of staff", he added.

    Unmanageable Organization

    Commenting on the main reasons behind Kelly's departure, the professor suggested that "Kelly wanted to stay long enough to exhaust all the possibilities of his leadership".

    "Once it became clear that this was an unmanageable organization, he probably wanted to stay through the election", he noted. "Now, not only is the organization unmanageable, it is about to face a wave of outside attacks".

    According to Franklin, Trump's family has had a malign influence on the present administration, however, it's "only a symptom of what is wrong with this presidency".

    Referring to reports that suggested that Rep. Mark Meadows had been considered as a replacement for Kelly, the academic suggested that Meadows "will disappoint Trump on that count as well".

    According to Franklin, "Meadows is an ideologue" and he "has never run a large organization and certainly not one in the Government". "At the end of the day he will choose his own cause over loyalty to Trump", the professor suggested, adding that this appointment is fraught with risks for Trump.

    "I think from the president's perspective, the next best chief of staff might well be Jared Kushner", Franklin presumed. "I'm not sure that he can get past the nepotism rules of Government, but that hasn't stopped the President in the past".

    Trump Administration Facing Mounting Challenges

    Currently, the Trump administration is facing numerous challenges, including the Mueller investigation, bumpy US-China relations and trade wars, not to mention the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

    According to the professor, Trump is already having problems with finding a person to do the job, which is a "powerful indicator that the effective end of this Administration is near".

    "Who wants to be the executive officer on a sinking ship?" the academic asked rhetorically.

    In addition, "with the House in Democratic hands, legislative policy making for Trump is over.  With a presidential election upcoming, the bureaucracy will begin to stall Trump initiatives on the expectation that he won't be re-elected", he said. 

    On Tuesday, Trump took to Twitter to dismiss earlier reports that he was struggling to find someone to replace Kelly amid the ongoing turbulent situation.

    "Fake News has it purposely wrong. Many, over ten, are vying for and wanting the White House Chief of Staff position. Why wouldn't someone want one of the truly great and meaningful jobs in Washington. Please report news correctly. Thank you!" the US president tweeted.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    White House chief of staff, resignation, U.S. Department of State, Jared Kushner, Mark Meadows, John Kelly, Donald Trump, United States
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