The Slatest

John Kelly Reportedly Called the White House a “Miserable Place to Work”

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly attends a 2018 Hurricane Briefing at the Federal Emergency Management Agency Headquarters (FEMA) on June 6, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly attends a 2018 Hurricane Briefing at the Federal Emergency Management Agency Headquarters (FEMA) on June 6, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Pool/Getty Images

The White House chief of staff isn’t having a good time in his White House job. And he isn’t hiding his feelings. John Kelly recently told a group of visiting senators that 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is “a miserable place to work,” reports the New York Times. In a story about the demoralized White House staff that seems more resigned than ever to the way President Donald Trump makes decisions on instinct, the Times notes that Kelly seems particularly “beaten down” by the job. So much so that White House staffers have taken to calling his newly named deputy chief of staff, Zachary Fuentes, “deputy president” because he has taken so many of Kelly’s duties.

All the chaos and tension at the White House means many staffers are considering leaving their jobs after the November midterm elections. But Trump doesn’t seem to care as he “has grown comfortable with removing any barriers that might challenge him—including, in some cases, people who have the wrong chemistry or too frequently say no to him,” notes the Times. Although some who started working with Trump only when he became president insist his behavior is changing, those who knew him from before say this is just the way he is and before there used to be more people around him who would play interference.

More than anything Trump trusts his own instincts and is willing to ignore what everyone around him says if he has a good feeling about someone. Case in point, Scott Pruitt. Although many aides have told him it’s high time he get rid of the scandal-plagued administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the two speak frequently and the president likes to complain to him about Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Little wonder then that Trump has repeatedly praised Pruitt despite the seemingly unending cascade of questionable ethics and spending issues.