Late Night [Head*Desk] Open Thread: Kelly’s “War”

Honest to Murphy, I thought Kelly’s anti-immigrant comments yesterday would finally move some dials on the “General Kelly, Strong Man Upon Whom We Depend for Sanity” media meters. But NOOOO! What’s gonna drive Kelly out of the White House — should it happen — will be Javanka’s campaign to poison Daddy’s mind against him, because we’re living in Redneck Versailles World now…

For weeks, Donald Trump has been souring on his Chief of Staff John Kelly because of his controlling ways and rising public profile. And now Kelly is in the midst of a bonafide crisis, one that exacerbates the president’s own #MeToo problems. On Tuesday, Kelly strongly defended White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter against disturbing allegations, first published in the Daily Mail, that he abused his ex-wives. Kelly’s decision to back Porter has left many people inside the White House angry, two sources with knowledge of the matter said. On Wednesday afternoon, Porter resigned. Axios reported Kelly wanted Porter to “stay and fight.”…

Kelly’s decision to go to bat for Porter deeply frustrated White House staffers, sources told me. He was supposed to be the West Wing’s resident grown-up, but staffers are increasingly questioning Kelly’s judgment, four Republicans close to the White House told me. “It’s beyond disbelief. Everyone is trying to figure out why Kelly is leading the charge to save him,” one former West Wing official said. Another Republican said: “How many times has Kelly put out a statement defending Trump?”

Sources said Kelly was so quick to defend Porter because the two have grown very close since Trump appointed Kelly chief of staff last summer. Porter, a Rhodes scholar, has helped Kelly instill discipline in the West Wing. Kelly has told people that Porter has a “calming effect” on White House operations. For instance, it’s Porter who screens all the information that gets to Trump’s desk. Porter also helped Kelly conduct a West Wing organizational study that provided Kelly with a cudgel to sideline Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, two former West Wing officials told me. The officials also said Kelly supported Porter even after the F.B.I. delayed granting Porter’s security clearance because they uncovered his alleged history of spousal abuse.

Until now, Porter has been a low-profile player, publicly absent from the West Wing dramas. But last week, he emerged when the Daily Mail reported he’s dating White House Communications Director Hope Hicks…

Senior aides to President Donald Trump knew for months about allegations of domestic abuse levied against top White House staffer Rob Porter by his ex-wives, even as Porter’s stock in the West Wing continued to rise, multiple sources told CNN on Wednesday…

A scramble ensued inside the West Wing to defend him when the claims became public this week, the sources said. That effort continues even after his resignation.

Trump himself first learned of the allegations this week, two sources familiar with the matter said. He was upset when shown reports of the abuse, which first emerged on Tuesday. His daughter Ivanka Trump, serving as a White House senior adviser, was also deeply disturbed by the allegations, particularly by photographs of the alleged abuse, the sources said…

By early fall, it was widely known among Trump’s top aides — including chief of staff John Kelly — both that Porter was facing troubles in obtaining the clearance and that his ex-wives claimed he had abused them. No action was taken to remove him from the staff.

Instead, Kelly and others oversaw an elevation in Porter’s standing. He was one of a handful of aides who helped draft last week’s State of the Union address. He traveled instead of Kelly to the World Economic Forum in Davos last month. And he was one of a select group of aides who shook Chinese President Xi Jinping’s hand during a state visit to Beijing in November…

Kelly, who has relied on Porter to execute a strict system of information control to the President, insisted that he’d be able to weather the allegations and remain in his job, according to a White House official. But Porter resigned anyway, over Kelly’s objections. Kelly has long insisted that Porter stay in his job, even as he considered approaches from the private sector, including from Uber, according to one administration source…

Of course, we’re told, the King didn’t know about these ‘troubling allegations’ — in Versailles World, the King never knows! (To be fair, Trump ‘not knowing’ is usually a pretty safe bet… )

71 replies
  1. 1
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Kelly turns out to be an asshole. From his performance as Sec.of DHS on.

  2. 2
    NotMax says:

    As if Quentin Tarantino directed “Heathers”…

    (Or maybe Val Lewton would be a more apt choice.)

  3. 3
    efgoldman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: We’d all save ourselves a lot of time and aggravation if we’d just remember efgoldman’s 1st theorem: Assholes gotta’ be assholes. It’s what they do.
    We could just skip a step every time some such bullshit gets reported, and go straight to “of course”

  4. 4
    Jerzy Russian says:

    Christ, what an asshole!

  5. 5


    As if Quentin Tarantino directed “Heathers”…

    I have a feeling that would be pretty bad.

  6. 6
    hellslittlestangel says:

    Who could have known that a man nicknamed “Mad Dog” would turn out to be a vile, hateful, shit-head?

  7. 7
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @efgoldman: and the assholes most likely to succeed this one are: Rudi, Christie, maybe the fucking Mooch!

  8. 8

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yup, Trump seems to attract them.

  9. 9
    hellslittlestangel says:

    @NotMax: As if Quentin Tarantino directed “Heathers”…

    He did. It was called “Reservoir Dogs.”

  10. 10
    Chet Murthy says:

    even as [Porter] considered approaches from the private sector, including from Uber

    of course!! (tm efg)

  11. 11
    Mnemosyne says:

    All I can say is, racism is a hell of a drug since it apparently allows conservatives to be A-OK with deporting college students but surprised when the same people championing that turn out to be wife-beaters, too.

  12. 12
    NotMax says:


    Mad Dog refers to Mattis, not Kelly.

  13. 13
    Mnemosyne says:


    Other one — Mattis is “Mad Dog.”

  14. 14
    efgoldman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Rudi, Christie, maybe the fucking Mooch!

    My crystal ball is too scratched and crazed to get any clear picture of what Ferrethead might do next (except lie and be clueless). I don’t see Rudi. He’s descended to pay-per-inquiry TV ads for some scare the shit out of you, fly by night security thingie. I expect he’s also got some criminal exposure which he’s worried about.
    It’s not a position requiring confirmation.

  15. 15
    hellslittlestangel says:




  16. 16
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I think SecDef Mattis is the one nicknamed “Mad Dog.”

  17. 17
    NotMax says:


    Agree. Rudi has long passed his expiration date. And likely maintains a rental cubicle someplace for the skeletons that don’t fit in his overstuffed closet.

  18. 18
    lgerard says:

    Orrin Hatch really went out on a limb defending this Porter guy

    Senator Orrin Hatch, commented: ‘It’s incredibly discouraging to see such a vile attack on such a decent man. Shame on any publication that would print this—and shame on the politically motivated, morally bankrupt character assassins that would attempt to sully a man’s good name.

    ‘I know Rob. I’ve known him for years, both as a close friend and as a personal advisor. He is kind and considerate towards all. The country needs more honest, principled people like Rob Porter, which is why I hope that this cynical campaign to discredit his character ultimately fails

    A guy who has two failed marriages by his mid-thirties doen’t strike me as stable genius material

  19. 19
    Gretchen says:

    @efgoldman: But I hear that Trump is really wishing he had Giuliani by his side.

  20. 20

    @NotMax: As noted here previously, Rudi’s been very quiet as of late and he’s never met a TV camera he doesn’t like.

  21. 21
    Aleta says:

    I think Porter told Kelly the same thing he told the press today: It wasn’t like that. Kelly already believes the usual about women: they lie to bring men down. Porter or someone in the WH thought they could get a retraction statement from at least one woman, or a silencing, the way it’s always done around Tr or in Hollywood. Porter told Kelly and T (or vice versa) it would be taken care of, or never go public, and they kept him on.

  22. 22
    NotMax says:


    stable genius

    Often found in a stable are horse’s asses.


  23. 23
    Gretchen says:

    Hope Hicks needs to get that broken picker of hers fixed. First she picks Corey Lewandowski (ugh) and then moves on to Porter? (Double ugh). And sticks around to listen to Trump comment on how her boyfriends experience her as a piece of ass. Ugh.

  24. 24
    ZyklonBeaArthur says:

    The only surprising part of this story is Porter’s resignation; he must be using this kerfuffle as an excuse to flee the administration.

    Kelly’s an evil asshole, but he’s right; Porter could easily have ridden this out.

  25. 25
    Gretchen says:

    @lgerard: Right? One failed marriage – youthful mistake. Two wives exit quickly, and one woman actually working in the White House with all of these people, whom they all know, also has problems, and they don’t suspect there’s a problem? Even when the FBI says: “We can’t give this guy a security clearance because there’s still a restraining order against him from the second wife who says he hit her?” Jeez, what does it take? They took more care on background checks at my former employer to let people pour urine into test tubes. They didn’t want any violent riff-raff entrusted with their lab results.

  26. 26
    mai naem mobile says:

    I cannot believe nobody in the media has run a basic background check on Rob Porter before? I have to believe they all have Lexus Nexus and that they subscribe to one of those online background search companies(I figure they do a search everytime there’s a mass shooting) The order of protection from the ex wife would have shown up. The media is so fucking lazy. Also, it sounds like Javanka has the.knives out for Kelly. Doesn’t say much for Javanka because I bet they knew about the domestic abuse last year and ddidn’t do shit about it. Also also too, I wonder if5 this isn’t payback from the FBI for the Nunez memo etc.

  27. 27
    Jay says:

    @mai naem mobile:

    As no shortage of recent stories show, the MSM have been more than happy to bury these sort of stories for the rich, connected and powerful for a long, long time.

  28. 28
    efgoldman says:

    @mai naem mobile:

    they all have Lexus

    To be fair, a lot of them have Beemers and Benzes

  29. 29
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @mai naem mobile:

    Also, it sounds like Javanka has the.knives out for Kelly.

    According to Fire and Fury, Javanka had the knives out for both Bannon and Priebus. Now Kelly. I’m beginning to think Jared and Ivanka are deeply jealous of and paranoid about pretty much anyone in a senior advisor position to Trump — anyone who has even a few minutes of access that they don’t.

  30. 30
    Chet Murthy says:

    Hard to read Willoughby’s blog about this:

    h/t LGM

  31. 31
    NotMax says:

    Think Amazon has screwed up the order or the seasons for a series I’m watching. Police show from Finland.

    One of the cops was shot three times, point blank, while off duty by a drive-by. Next episode he’s hale and hearty and no mention was ever made of the shooting for the remainder of the season.

  32. 32
    Ruckus says:

    Well he does repel anyone with any sense of decency, decorum, humanity, whatever you call the lack of bigotry, IOW anyone not an asshole.

  33. 33
    Ruckus says:

    Does Giuliani make drumpf look better by comparison? It’s a hard call but better is a relative word and no one is saying that either is worth a shit.

  34. 34
    Ruckus says:

    Maybe Hope isn’t all that and a bag of chips once someone gets to know her. She is after all working for drumpf.

  35. 35
    Mike in DC says:

    The fun part happens when the next Congress subpoenas the WH to ask about Jared’s security clearance. I don’t think he’s going to be an advisor much past that point.

  36. 36
    Ninedragonspot says:

    @NotMax: Finns are stoic. Getting shot three times at point blank range isn’t something you whinge about, And your colleagues will be too discreet to mention it.

  37. 37
    NotMax says:


    “Would you mind very much bleeding over there, Pekka? I just mopped.”

  38. 38
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    Brave woman. And yes, it is not easy to read. (Took me a couple of minutes to realize I was reading an essay by one of Porter’s ex-wives — I haven’t yet internalized their names.)

  39. 39
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mike in DC:

    I’m hoping he’ll be on his way to the Big House by then.

  40. 40
    SectionH says:

    I haven’t read most of AL’s post, and mostly none of the comments, which is why I generally don’t post, but tonight

    a srsly cool guy who runs a restaurant/bar, nearby, whom we’ve know for years, turns out to have a brother who went to Bethany College, YES that one!

    And of course I told him to check out BJ, but he’s busy trying to survive running a place in a srsly competitive neighborhood. I know he votes, and votes right. Well, his wife is Japanese and has permanent resident status, which they hope is good enough.

    And I haven’t even sent my check to Cole for the calendar. Well he didn’t send me his PoB until a couple of days ago. He’ll have to cope, or I’ll have to volunteer to mail calendars next year. FFS, one item, no options? What a wimp.

    eta: if the calendars have sold out, I’m fine with just adding the $ to the general BJ fund.

  41. 41
    Calouste says:

    @mai naem mobile: Note that the story started with a foreign newspaper. I guess the IC has worked out that if they drop a story in the American media there is a good chance it disappears down the memory hole.

  42. 42
    Calouste says:

    @lgerard: Occam’s Razor says Hatch either abused his own wife or had a mistress.

  43. 43
    Arclite says:

    Shorter JK: “Honoring women and beating women aren’t mutually exclusive.”

  44. 44

    @efgoldman: My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends. //

  45. 45
    Adria McDowell says:

    John Kelly: racist shitdick misogynist. Who knew? (Besides everyone who was paying attention during his tenure at DHS).

    Both Kelly and McMaster have proven to be terrible people. Mattis is next, and oh yes, it will happen. Maybe this bullshit will finally end the deification of the military.

  46. 46
    Schlemazel says:

    Why not both?

  47. 47
    Aleta says:

    @Chet Murthy: Thanks. Seriously horrible common abuser.
    I wondered why they didn’t smear her. Maybe this and other backup she had, or other stories, convinced them not to. Close call.

  48. 48
  49. 49

    @SiubhanDuinne: Unfortunately it was all too familiar for me. Just now ending a five year relationship that sounds eerily similar. Worst part about leaving is how I feel ashamed, which I intellectually know is madness. But when you have been manipulated and gaslighted for years, lines get blurry and you lose an essential part of yourself. She is very brave to speak up. I haven’t had the courage to even tell his family what’s been going on. Most of my family doesn’t know either. Her story gives me hope though. And lately that has been in very short supply.

  50. 50
    mai naem mobile says:

    Hatch is a POS if he didn’t realize a Mormon with two divorces had issues. They take that shit really seriosly. One divorce would be a big deal, forget two divorces. Also, I saw some legit reporter on Twitter say that this became a bigger issue when his girlfriend reached out to the two ex-wives for help because he was abusing her too. Anyhow, like I said, after Pudzer,Scaramucci,Lewandowski and Bannon you would think the American media would have run a background search especially considering he was a Mormon with 2 ex-wives. I am disappointed in David Farenhold.

  51. 51
    Aleta says:

    I wonder who fed this piece of PR gush about Porter to the press (Sept. 7), to appear two days before Maggie H and Glen Thrush’s story on Kelly’s tight organization. It reads like the stories on the great Kushner that appeared in the beginning.

    It’s also funny that the Daily Mail, which broke the story about Porter’s abuse, seems to be the origin of the story about Hicks and Porter less than a week before. (I don’t buy the stories about who Hicks’ boyfriends are.) The DM also does a nearly constant story about a ‘chance’ sighting of Ivanka, describing her outfit as she’s on her way to work or somewhere.

  52. 52
    Aleta says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ: Great respect for what you are doing. I believe an abusive relationship can happen to anyone. It’s not the fault of the person it happens to.

  53. 53
    Aimai says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ: I’m so, so, sorry! Get out, get well, live well.

  54. 54
    Aimai says:

    @mai naem mobile: This guy is a mormon? I think Porter might be an important Mormon name. He might be mormon royalty and that is why Hatch defended him.

  55. 55
    Manyakitty says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ: Getting out is a major achievement. Do whatever you need to stay safe and strong. You are not alone. Be well.

  56. 56
    Gvg says:

    There was some story awhile ago when metoo was starting about how many years it took the Senate to get rid of one who had theses kind of allegations about him known. Senate women pushed for years. Male republican’s didn’t want to act but now we’re taking some credit for belatedly having acted, ignoring the delay. Wonder if Hatch was involved. Also he was one of original sponsors of chip but now seems to hate it. Getting old and senile seems to have made him meaner. Again, check on Hatch’s wife…

  57. 57
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Aimai: Hmm… Joseph Smith’s bodyguard, the “Destroying Angel of Mormondom,” was named Orrin Porter Rockwell.

  58. 58

    Jared’s security clearance remains ‘the President wants him to have access to everything’, and the President has the last word on that topic. It will never be an issue by itself.

    Remember how seriously the media took the absurd idea of Ebola infected terrorist immigrants? Kelly’s level of racism matches theirs.

    My grim suspicion is that she is enduring extreme sexual harassment to keep her post, to the point where she’s expected to be sleeping with somebody. ‘So I don’t have to sleep with Trump’ may be involved, even. Yes, it’s grotesque, but it completely matches the horrible people involved. I am reluctant to judge anyone in that unpleasant position.

  59. 59

    It’s not exclusive, although it’s hard to explain why. Basically ‘honoring women’ is the traditional cry of men who consider women property to be protected. As such, if they’re yours you can do anything you want to them.

    I worry it says something bad about me that I know exactly how the most horrible people think.

  60. 60
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: If you consider women “sacred” you’re probably not thinking of them as people. Being sacred isn’t a fun job.

  61. 61
    randy khan says:


    I think Porter told Kelly the same thing he told the press today: It wasn’t like that. Kelly already believes the usual about women: they lie to bring men down. Porter or someone in the WH thought they could get a retraction statement from at least one woman, or a silencing, the way it’s always done around Tr or in Hollywood. Porter told Kelly and T (or vice versa) it would be taken care of, or never go public, and they kept him on.

    It takes a lot of . . . something to believe Porter over the evaluation of the people who decided not to give Porter security clearance. It’s their job to decide if claims like that are credible.

  62. 62
  63. 63
    Procopius says:

    @hellslittlestangel: Wait a minute. White House Chief of Staff isn’t nick-named “Mad Dog.” From his performance at Dept. of Homeland Security he probably should be, in the tradition of “Mad Dog” Kelly, the 1930s gangster who was known for his viciousness, but the guy who earned the nick-name “Mad Dog” is our Secretary of War Defense Mattis. He probably is not, but he is a zionist neoconservative and so has conflicts of interest with the United States. Like Hillary, he has sworn allegiance to Netanyahu. I’m not sure if Kelly has, but he is clearly a neoconservative, which would seriously conflict with his white nationalist ideology. I don’t know how these guys keep from going crazy. Oh, wait …

  64. 64
    afanasia says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ: I don’t interact much with my own family any more because of their eagerness to excuse abuse. Don’t give in to the pressure to forgive. At least until he’s immobilized by age, ill health, or permanent incarceration.

  65. 65
    H.E.Wolf says:


    Hello, Byzantine court historian who kept two different sets of records! You’ve done an amazing job and are being recognized more and more.

    (Now I’m curious what the real Procopius said about Theodora. I’ll bet it was negative, contra-factual, and accused her of whatever her political opposites were doing.)

  66. 66
    Citizen_X says:

    even as he considered approaches from the private sector, including from Uber

    Boy, speaking of outfits that could fuck up a ham sandwich…

  67. 67
    J R in WV says:


    Senator Orrin Hatch, commented: ….

    The country needs more honest, principled people like Rob Porter, which is why I hope that this cynical campaign to discredit his character ultimately fails

    Senator Hatch, it isn’t a cynical campaign at all !!! it’s photos of women who have obviously been beaten up, women who happen somehow to be his WIVES… you dumbass immoral hypocrite.

    Thanks for the quote, lgerard, fun to use to make a point about Hatch. What a dirtbag. That’s my word of the day today.

  68. 68
    Ella in New Mexico says:


    Orrin Hatch really went out on a limb defending this Porter guy

    And since that “limb” was his dick, some would say he just stepped on one as well

  69. 69
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I know this sounds like a religious slur but God-damn, they’re all fucking related aren’t they?

  70. 70
    WhatsMyNym says:

    @mai naem mobile:

    The media is so fucking lazy.

    Pretty much says it all.

  71. 71

    Thank you all for the encouragement

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