Trump Insists No Chaos at White House as New Chief of Staff Takes Charge - NBC Southern California
President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

The latest news on President Donald Trump's first year as president

Trump Insists No Chaos at White House as New Chief of Staff Takes Charge

A battle-hardened commander, retired Gen. John Kelly is entering a West Wing battered by crisis

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    President Donald Trump convened his Cabinet for a kickoff meeting with new Chief of Staff John Kelly. As for the escalating tensions with North Korea, Trump said the situation "will be handled." He did not give specifics. "We handle everything," Trump said. (Published Monday, July 31, 2017)

    Hoping to turn the page on a tumultuous opening chapter to his presidency, President Donald Trump insisted on Monday there is "no chaos" in his White House as he swore in retired Marine Gen. John Kelly as chief of staff.

    In an Oval Office ceremony, Trump predicted Kelly, who previously served as Homeland Security chief, would do a "spectacular job." And the president chose to highlight an improving stock market and strong jobs outlook rather than talk about how things need to change under Kelly. 

    Trump on Friday ousted Reince Priebus as chief of staff and turned to Kelly, whom he hopes will bring military discipline to an administration weighed down by a stalled legislative agenda, infighting among West Wing aides and a stack of investigations.

    While Trump is looking for a reset, he pushed back against criticism of his administration on Twitter Monday. He said: "Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages raising, border secure, S.C.: No WH chaos!"

    John F. Kelly to Replace Reince Priebus as WH Chief of Staff

    [NATL] John F. Kelly to Replace Reince Priebus as WH Chief of Staff

    President Donald Trump announced a new Chief of Staff on Twitter Friday afternoon. Security of Homeland Security John F. Kelly will take over Reince Priebus' current position as Chief of Staff. 

    (Published Friday, July 28, 2017)

    Kelly's success in a chaotic White House will depend on how much authority he is granted and whether Trump's dueling aides will put aside their rivalries to work together. Also unclear is whether a new chief of staff will have any influence over the president's social media histrionics.

    Trump said he looked forward to Kelly doing "an even better job as chief of staff."

    Former Trump campaign manager Cory Lewandowski, who was ousted from the campaign in June 2016, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he expected Kelly would "restore order to the staff" but also stressed that Trump was unlikely to change his style.

    "I say you have to let Trump be Trump. That is what has made him successful over the last 30 years. That is what the American people voted for," Lewandowski said. "And anybody who thinks they're going to change Donald Trump doesn't know Donald Trump."

    Kelly's start follows a wild week, marked by a profane tirade from the new communications director, Trump's continued attacks on his attorney general and the failed effort by Senate Republicans to overhaul the nation's health care law.

    In addition to strain in the West Wing and with Congress, Kelly starts his new job as tensions escalate with North Korea. The United States flew two supersonic bombers over the Korean Peninsula on Sunday in a show of force against North Korea, following the country's latest intercontinental ballistic missile test. The U.S. also said it conducted a successful test of a missile defense system located in Alaska.

    Protesters Removed From Senate Health Care Bill Hearing

    [NATL] Health Care Bill Protesters Forcibly Removed From Senate Finance Committee Room

    Protesters chanting "No cuts for Medicaid, save our liberty!" were forcibly removed from the Senate Finance Committee room Monday as lawmakers attempted to convene a hearing into the Republican Graham Cassidy health care bill.

    (Published Monday, Sept. 25, 2017)

    Asked about North Korea during brief remarks at a Cabinet meeting Monday, Trump said, "we'll handle North Korea." 

    "It will be handled," he said. "We handle everything." 

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that she hopes Kelly can "be effective," and "begin some very serious negotiation with the North and stop this program."

    Another diplomatic fissure opened Sunday when Russian President Vladimir Putin said the U.S. would have to cut its embassy and consulate staff in Russia by several hundred under new sanctions from Moscow. In a television interview, Putin indicated the cutback was retaliation for new sanctions in a bill passed by Congress and sent to Trump.

    Trump plans to sign the measure into law, the White House has said. After Putin's remarks, the State Department deemed the cutbacks "a regrettable and uncalled for act" and said officials would assess the impact and how to respond to it.

    While Trump is trying to refresh his team, he signaled that he does not want to give up the fight on health care. On Twitter Sunday, he said: "Don't give up Republican Senators, the World is watching: Repeal & Replace."

    North Korean Minister: Trump Tweet Declared War

    [NATL] North Korean Foreign Minister: 'The United States Declared War'

    North Korea's top diplomat says President Donald Trump's tweet that leader Kim Jong Un "won't be around much longer" amounted to a declaration of war against his country.

    Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters Monday that what he called Trump's "declaration of war" gives North Korea "every right" under the U.N. Charter to take countermeasures, "including the right to shoot down the United States strategic bombers even they're not yet inside the airspace border of our country."

    Ri Yong also said that "all options will be on the operations table" for the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    Ri referred to Trump's tweet Saturday that said: "Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!"

    (Published Monday, Sept. 25, 2017)

    The protracted health care fight has slowed Trump's other policy goals, including a tax overhaul and infrastructure investment. But Trump aides made clear that the president still wanted to see action on health care. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said on CNN's "State of the Union," that senators "need to stay, they need to work, they need to pass something."

    Asked if nothing should be voted on in Congress until the Senate votes again on health care, Mulvaney said: "well, think — yes. And I think what you're seeing there is the president simply reflecting the mood of the people."

    On Saturday, Trump threatened to end required payments to insurance companies unless lawmakers repeal and replace the Obama-era health care law. He tweeted that if "a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!"

    The payments reduce deductibles and co-payments for consumers with modest incomes. Trump has guaranteed the payments through July, but has not made a commitment going forward.

    White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said on "Fox News Sunday" that Trump would make a decision on the payments this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who opposed the efforts to move a health bill forward this week, said on CNN that cutting the payments would "be detrimental to some of the most vulnerable citizens" and that the threat has "contributed to the instability in the insurance market."

    NFL Players Protest During National Anthem

    [NATL] NFL Players Protest During National Anthem
    AP reporters counted more than 200 NFL players who did not stand during the national anthem before their games on Sunday. Six refused to stand the week before, mainly protesting police brutality.
    (Published Monday, Sept. 25, 2017)

    The House has begun a five-week recess, while the Senate is scheduled to work two more weeks before a summer break.