Opinion | Hamilton: Wanted: Pit bull or French poodle?
Former U.S. Marine General John F. Kelly (1950-) served our nation well as Secretary of Homeland Security and, for the last two years, as White House Chief of Staff. General Kelly deserves our thanks.
Presumably, General Kelly approached being White House Chief-of-Staff with either the Marine Corps or the Army Field Manual on “Staff Organization and Operations,” in mind. They read virtually the same.
For example, both manuals recommend that only a small Personal Staff can have direct access to the commander: Family members, surgeon, chaplain, judge advocate, inspector-general, press officer, and aides-de-camp. But General Staff and Special Staff officers, without exception, must seek the approval of the Chief-of-Staff to see the commander. Moreover, the Chief-of-Staff or a deputy also must be present. Immediately following the meeting, a memo of what was said or decided must be on the Chief’s desk, ASAP.
For President Eisenhower, having General Kelly as his loyal “gatekeeper” would be the perfect fit. As for President Trump, it is unclear whether he wants a Pit Bull or a French Poodle guarding the door to the Oval Office. Either way, it is a miracle that General Kelly or anyone could last for two years in a 24/7, virtually sleepless job that should come under the 8th Amendment’s prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment.”
But, with the presidential election of 2020 just ahead, an entirely different kind of Chief-of-Staff will be needed. Instead of a military officer trained to be non-political, the job demands someone highly political with a ruthless, laser-like focus on the politics necessary for the President’s America First Agenda to be achieved.
The job demands someone who will purge the White House and the Executive Office Building of any and all staffers (or even Cabinet Members) who do not wholeheartedly embrace the President’s agenda. Finding the right man or woman to replace General Kelly will not be easy. That person must be totally loyal to the President and be iron-willed and thick-skinned enough to withstand the blows sure to be inflicted by a hostile mainstream media. But, as they say in Washington and Hollywood, “If you want loyalty, get a dog.”
The next White House Chief-of-Staff must firmly believe in no more illegal immigration and no more entangling alliances and endless wars that were the hallmarks of the Clinton, Bush (43), and Obama Administrations. The next Chief-of-Staff must understand political horse trading and how to use any legal means necessary to arm-twist individual members of Congress to support the President’s programs. Or, failing that, at least get the heck out of the way.
After January 3, 2019, with the U.S. House in the hands of the Democratic Party and the U.S. Senate in the hands of the Republican Party, the new Chief-of-Staff must understand the levers of power inside the Beltway and operate them relentlessly to further what Candidate Trump promised the American people that he would do back in 2016.
Finding the right person to be White House Chief-of-Staff brings to mind a quotation widely attributed to Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King (1878-1956) who led the U.S. Navy to victory in World War II: “When they get in trouble, they send for the SOBs.”
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. Dr. Hamilton is the author of The Wit and Wisdom of William Hamilton: the Sage of Sheepdog Hill, Pegasus Imprimis Press (2017).
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