Monday's HOT MIC
Change you can believe in?
There's a lot of inside baseball here, but it's worth your time.
Kirstjen Nielsen, a longtime aide to Kelly, now functions as his gatekeeper in what the New York Times described as a "little-noticed bureaucratic earthquake." Nielsen handles much of the daily operations within the White House, and some administration officials paint a picture of Kelly's enemies being furious about Nielsen helping him tighten his grip.
"Gatekeepers are generally not beloved," Jonathan Hoffman, who was hired by Nielsen at the Department of Homeland Security, told Politico. "But that's why it's an important job."
Those fighting for President Donald Trump's campaign agenda have reportedly opposed the ascent of Kelly and National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster, but some leaders of that wing have recently departed. Former White House advisers Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka vehemently defended Trump's campaign agenda, only to find themselves working for that agenda from outside the administration.
"The real believers, the real ‘MAGA' [Make America Great Again] fighters inside the building were being progressively boxed out, or fired from the [National Security Council]," Gorka told the Washington Free Beacon last month.
The Times described Kelly and Nielsen's style of leadership as the "old normal" for White House operations but said that it still qualifies as a revolution for an administration as unorthodox as Trump's. Nielsen enforces Kelly's standards for meetings, which often entail excluding some aides who had gotten used to wandering in and out of the Oval Office.
Big meetings are a big waste of time. Back when he was turning Apple into the success it is today, Steve Jobs was famous for being ruthless (among other things) for enforcing meeting discipline. If he saw a face he didn't recognize, and asked "Why are you doing here?*" and didn't like the answer -- the interloper was told to leave. Meetings should be as small and as short as possible, or else they spiral into existing for their own sake.
*Jobs might have phrased it a bit more indelicately, but this is a family blog.
That said, who is allowed into meetings is just as important as size. And on that issue, The Donald might have some 'splainin to do to the #MAGA folks.