The recent forced resignation of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have been long overdue, but the end-of-year exit of White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly has raised eyebrows that Pres. Donald J. Trump may be planning a policy pivot.
With the Make America Great Again policies fueling an almost unprecedented economic resurgence, a new North American trade deal in place and China buckling under the weight of U.S. sanctions, high-level turnover in the Trump Administration points to substantial change. Left-leaning, fake news outlets continue to try and play the personnel shifts as White House chaos. But, few are connecting the dots between Trump’s possible long-term agenda, policies and people.
Chief Kelly was a steadying force that helped Pres. Trump implement America First economic policies. His military-style hierarchy brought a defined chain of command that was absent from Pres. Trump’s survival of the fittest corporate structure. But with a pecking order in place and a remarkable stretch of economic victories under his belt, the president’s only campaign promise left is border security — the wall.
As 2018 comes to a close, Pres. Trump has already begun a subtle policy pivot that appears to include social reforms that should have been implemented by the previous administration. First among them is criminal justice reform, and the shift in America First policies to embrace a social agenda may have a bearing on who takes the lead in the White House. These are perceived frontrunners for the chief of staff post, and things everyday Americans should know about them:
Chairman of the powerfully conservative House Freedom Caucus, North Carolina Rep. Meadows has been a staunch Trump supporter. It’s no secret that Pres. Trump places enormous weight on loyalty and Meadows checks that box.
Meadows has a long history of aligning himself with what is generally perceived as “far right” policy positions. During the rise of the Tea Party, he signed on to the Contract from America, one of the early populist pushes. He has been in lock step with the president on repealing Obama-era regulations on everything from business mandates to health care, and opposed any type of gun registry legislation. Although Meadows checks many of the boxes for Pres. Trump, he may not be on board for proposed criminal justice reform if the legislation trails into 2019. He’s also a balanced budget hawk, which is unlikely to happen in the next two years.
The former South Carolina U.S. Representative has run the Office of Management and Budget at a rock star level. He also works as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The 51-year-old has strong ties to congressional leadership as a founding member of the Freedom Caucus. He has been instrumental in pushing through Pres. Trump’s signature Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts legislative win. Although Mulvaney has the chops to take on the chief of staff role, Pres. Trump would be hard pressed to find a replacement of his caliber for his existing positions. One might not exist.
The interim U.S. Attorney General will likely be looking for a new job once Pres. Trump’s nominee, William Barr, takes over at the DOJ. The 49-year-old former Jeff Sessions chief of staff would make a logical hire for the president who has been keeping tabs on the biased Mueller investigation. Whitaker has openly called Mueller’s team a “lynch mob.” Pres. Trump could benefit from Whitaker’s insight into the Department of Justice. However, it is well known that Whitaker aspires to become a federal judge. Pres. Trump has not been known to take on people for stepping stone purposes. The Trump loyalist is more likely to land a plum role elsewhere in the administration.
The woman who restored America’s reputation for strength and leadership in the United Nations could have any job she wants. Pres. Trump made that statement in no uncertain terms. The South Carolina daughter of Indian immigrants bowed out of her ambassadorship to return home and rebuild her family’s finances. Civil service does not pay as well as Haley could do in the private sector. That being said, Pres. Trump would likely move mountains if she showed even the slightest interest.
Although Pres. Trump dismissed reports that V.P. Mike Pence aide Nick Ayers was a top choice, speculation about mainstays such as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, former New Jersey Gov. Chis Christie and others have swirled. Pres. Trump tends to keep his decisions close to the vest. A dark horse appointment could take center stage.
~ Conservative Zone