September 1, 2017


During a summer of crisis, Trump chafes against criticism and new controls (Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker August 31, 2017, wASHINGTON pOST)

Trump chafes at some of the retired Marine Corps general's moves to restrict access to him since he took the job almost a month ago, said several people close to the president. They run counter to Trump's love of spontaneity and brashness, prompting some Trump loyalists to derisively dub Kelly "the church lady" because they consider him strict and morally superior.

"He's having a very hard time," one friend who spoke with Trump this week said of the president. "He doesn't like the way the media's handling him. He doesn't like how Kelly's handling him. He's turning on people that are very close to him." [...]

Meanwhile, people close to the president said he is simmering with displeasure over what he considers personal disloyalty from National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, who criticized Trump's responses to a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. He also has grown increasingly frustrated with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has clashed with the president on issues including Afghanistan troop levels, the blockade on Qatar and Cuba policy.

But Trump sometimes defies -- and even resents -- the new structure. He has been especially sensitive to the way Kelly's rigid structure is portrayed in the media and strives to disabuse people of the notion that he is being managed. The president continues to call business friends and outside advisers, including former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, from his personal phone when Kelly is not around, said people with knowledge of the calls. [...]

On Tillerson, Trump has come to see his top diplomat's approach to world affairs as "totally establishment," in the words of one Trump associate. Several people close to Trump said they would be surprised if Tillerson stays in his post past his one-year mark in January. They hinted that his departure may come far sooner, with one describing it as "imminent."

And some who have recently seen Tillerson say the former ExxonMobil chief executive -- unaccustomed to taking orders from a superior, let alone one as capricious as Trump -- also seems to be ready to end his State Department tenure. He has grumbled privately to Kelly about Trump's recent controversies, said two people familiar with their relationship.

Posted by at September 1, 2017 7:12 PM