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White House chief of staff John Kelly watches as President Donald Trump speaks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower, New York, Aug. 15, 2017 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

‘Trump’s Generals’ Might Not Be Enough to Head Off Disaster

Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017

We’ve now reached the “reductio ad absurdum” stage of Donald Trump’s presidency, where all the various factors that have made his short time in office so shambolic converge to dispel any remaining semblance of credibility. That this coincides with what I recently argued was the most dangerous period of his presidency, when U.S. rivals and adversaries begin to openly call Trump’s bluffs, means that the comedy of errors on display could easily lead to great tragedy.

Two weeks ago, after a spike in dysfunction took the level of chaos higher than seemed imaginable, John Kelly was appointed White House chief of staff. The move represented a last-ditch effort to stabilize Trump’s flailing administration, and also militarized the White House policymaking apparatus to an unprecedented degree. Kelly, a former Marine general who had until then headed the Department of Homeland Security, joined National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, himself an active Army general, in the West Wing. ...

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