Why Trump will fire John Kelly too

  • John Kelly was recently named White House chief of staff.
  • His first order of business was removing Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci.
  • He'll bring order to a White House desperately in need of it and probably gain accolades.
  • But he'll never last in the job. Here's why.

By all accounts, retired Marine General and new White House chief of staff John Kelly is honorable, intelligent, capable of managing complex organizations, and fears no man.

Not even Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci.

His title may be chief of staff, but Kelly is really more like the perfect chief operating officer for an organization with a CEO who has a constant need for the spotlight.

And though the White House is likely to be far more productive and functional with an empowered COO, President Donald Trump's inability to share the spotlight means John Kelly will ultimately be pushed out the door.

Right now, Trump seems to understand that he's on the brink of a failed presidency, and he has brought in a COO to create a functioning team. That's not playing armchair psychologist: Scaramucci's firing is proof that Trump has given Kelly more authority than Reince Priebus (or any other Trump administration official, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump) has had.

But one can only suppress his true nature for so long.

"Right now Trump seems to understand that he's on the brink of a failed presidency, and he has brought in a COO to create a functioning team."

What if John Kelly is as good at being the White House chief of staff as he was at being a Marine? What if he gets credit for keeping the president from tweeting the country's way into a war or recession? Will there suddenly be an issue of TIME magazine with "President Kelly" on the cover? If that happens, we're likely to relive a familiar chain of events:

A string of negative tweets.

A Trump interview with The New York Times.

And, eventually, Sarah Huckabee Sanders wishing Kelly the best of luck.

A CEO with a vision and a COO who relishes the role of making the trains run on time can do big things. One need only look at Steve jobs, Tim Cook, and the nation-sized pile of cash they built at Apple to see an example of how the two roles should function together.

Jobs was a CEO with a vision, but (and it's not a word typically associated with the Apple founder) he had the humility to realize he needed an empowered COO to make his vision a reality.

Donald Trump's management style more closely resembles Dwight Schrute's of The Office, who, once promoted to Regional Manager, made himself his own assistant—because in his megalomaniacal view no one else had the skill or ability to do the job.

That's why John Kelly won't last. He will be pushed out because Trump, like his friend and advisor Rudy Giuliani, cannot tolerate anyone else getting the credit.

In fact, if you want to get a preview of the ultimate outcome of the Trump/Kelly relationship, revisit the way Giuliani fired NYPD Chief Bill Bratton after Bratton started getting credit for the drastic decrease in crime during Giuliani's tenure as mayor.

Ultimately John Kelly will be fired because he will do a good job at bringing order and stability to the White House and his integrity will make the entire country—Republican and Democrat—look to him as a source of stability and sanity.

No matter how much he discourages it or avoids it, the spotlight will shine brightly on John Kelly specifically because he is an actual leader.

And Donald Trump is a CEO who never shares the spotlight.

Commentary by Dustin McKissen, the founder and CEO of McKissen + Company, a strategy, marketing, and public relations firm based in St. Charles, Missouri. The firm does consulting work analyzing how politics effects the business climate for clients in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America. McKissen was named one of LinkedIn's "Top Voices" in 2015 and 2016. He holds a Bachelors degree in Public Policy, and a Masters degree in Public Administration and is currently pursuing a PhD in Organizational and Industrial Psychology. Follow him on Twitter @DMcKissen.

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