Kelly: My Job Is Not to ‘Control’ Trump


White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said Thursday that his job is not to "control" President Donald Trump, attempting to undercut a common media talking point.

Kelly took issue with the notion that he is a "failure" for not controlling Trump's frequent tweeting, which has not stopped during his tenure as chief of staff. Instead, Kelly described his job as controlling how the White House brings information to Trump, and he praised the president's ability to make the best decisions.

"It's funny, I read in the paper—you all know, you write it—that I have been a failure at controlling the president or a failure at controlling his tweeting and all that," Kelly said. "I was not brought to this job to control anything but the flow of information to our president so that he can make the best decisions."

"I have found that Mr. Trump, from the day I met him, he is a decisive guy, he is a very thoughtful man," Kelly added. "He takes information in from every avenue he can receive it."

Kelly argued that it is wrong to measure his effectiveness by Trump's tweeting or any similar subjective criteria.

"I was not sent in or brought in to control him, and you should not measure my effectiveness as a chief of staff by what you think I should be doing, but simply the fact is I can guarantee to you that he is now presented with options, well thought out options," Kelly said. "It is always, always, always focused on protecting America, advancing America's economic development, jobs for America, safety for Americans."

He concluded the White House press briefing by saying he would "enjoy reading about it tomorrow." Earlier in the briefing he critiqued the media multiple times, saying it is "astounding" how much the press misreports about the White House.

Kelly also addressed a separate question on whether Americans should be concerned about North Korea.

"People should be concerned about a state that has developed a pretty good ICBM capability," Kelly said, addressing the threat to Guam as well as the U.S. mainland.

"Right now we think the threat is manageable, but over time, if it grows beyond where it is today, let's hope that diplomacy works," Kelly said.

Paul Crookston

Paul Crookston   Email Paul | Full Bio | RSS
Paul Crookston is a media analyst with the Washington Free Beacon. He was previously a Collegiate Network fellow at National Review. A 2016 graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., he served as the managing editor of the Tartan campus newspaper. He is originally from Tampa, Fla., but he still roots for Dad’s Ohio teams. His Twitter handle is @P_Crookston. He can be reached at

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