Gen. John Kelly is a Marine. One of things you learn about Marines if you hang around enough of them is that one can be a former soldier, but there are no former Marines. One either is or is not a Marine, and if you are not a Marine, you have either been dishonorably discharged or have never served in the Marine Corps. Kelly is a Marine.
Marines are the tough men in the shadows we send from the shadows to the beaches. They storm beaches. They kill bad guys. They impose order where there is chaos. That is now Gen. Kelly's job in the White House.
It is a testament of how others view him that CNN is now running with a leak that Kelly expressed his outrage over President Trump's firing of James Comey and that he considered resigning. That was a leak to undermine Kelly and it should actually help him. The president now knows he has a chief of staff who is prepared to walk, and that it will be a reflection on the president's administration if Kelly takes a hike.
As much as Gen. Kelly is a Marine, he is also a reset button and one that we hope will work better than the one Hillary Clinton gave to the Russians. He has ousted Anthony Scaramucci before Scaramucci officially began. Others will probably be asked to leave. In the meantime, he is beginning the coordinated restructuring of the president's life to include more limits on access to the Oval Office and the man who sits in it.
The downside for conservatives is that it will be hard to restrict access from people like Ivanka and Jared Kushner, who are both liberals. It will likewise be hard to restrict access from people like Gary Cohn, the economics advisor and also a liberal. The upside for conservatives is that Mike Pence's voice will not be as diffuse, nor will it have to compete with, so many schizophrenic voices echoing around the Oval Office.
The test of Gen. Kelly's effectiveness may very well be measured in the president's twitter usage going forward. If the president can make it through the rest of this week without a series of tweets that disrupt the White House message, perhaps Gen. Kelly is making progress. If the president can make it a full week, we will know the general is making progress. But, if the president continues his regular pattern of disruptive tweets that undermine his own progress and policies, we will know Gen. Kelly's efforts are in vain. The proof will be in the tweets.
Gen. Kelly, I am reliably told, does not expect the president to give up Twitter. But the general does expect the president to use his Twitter stream much more effectively and with a greater focus on advancing the president’s agenda instead of causing self-inflicted wounds.
There are many people on the left and a number of people on the right who are ready to give up on this presidency. They think it can go nowhere. They think the president is actually incapable of doing anything to advance his agenda and will do much of nothing. But while they are discounting the president, he is adding to the judiciary. He has nominated Judge Tripp Self to be a local federal district judge. Neil Gorsuch is on the Supreme Court. More judges will be added every month over the next year.
More importantly, we are only six months in. President Trump will be president tomorrow, next week, and next year. People may like to claim his administration is over. But time is on his side.
Erick Erickson is a radio talk show host in Atlanta.