Emanuel: Kelly Has Brought 'Order' and 'Discipline' to the White House

August 7, 2017

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D.) on Monday praised John Kelly's work as President Donald Trump's chief of staff.

Emanuel, who served as former President Barack Obama's first chief of staff, was asked by CNN's Poppy Harlow whether he thought Kelly is doing a good job. In response, Emanuel said that Kelly has undoubtedly brought "order" and "disciple" to the White House.

"He's brought order, there is no doubt. He's a person with great order," he said. "He's brought discipline, no doubt, to that effort."

Emanuel further expanded on what constitutes success for a chief of staff. The most important thing is "not what he does as head of the staff," but it is about his relationship with the president, according to Emanuel. 

"If the president trusts him, that's 99 percent of the game right there," Emanuel said.

The Chicago mayor suggested Kelly should help focus the president to prevent Trump from getting "in his own way."

Emanuel discussed the prior week in which positive economic numbers came out, and the administration made a major announcement regarding a new Foxconn factory that will bring thousands of jobs to Wisconsin. Emanuel called it a "major victory," but said the media was still focused on other issues surrounding Trump and his administration.

"Yet the entire discussion was about, you know, his [Trump's] tweets, his attack on the attorney general—all these other things," he said. "And I thought his entire administration, based on his campaign, was going to be about jobs. That to me is a classic case where the president gets in his own way of trying to tell the story of what he's working on."

Emanuel said that Kelly has the staff on board, and must also "get the president to focus on the core part of what he's trying to do."

"He's clearly got the rest of the staff realizing that if this continues, it's total chaos and they are betting on his success, so they are not going to undermine him," he said. "The question is, can he get everybody in the West Wing, and I mean everybody, to be betting on the same message. And that's an open question; although, I wish him well in that effort."

Emanuel previously served as a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1998.