Ever since Donald Trump promoted Gen. John Kelly to the position of White House chief of staff following Reince Priebus’ resignation, the former Homeland Security secretary has tried to steer the president into calmer waters. Calming the evident divide between Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and firing Steve Bannon are two of his biggest accomplishments so far, though Kelly notably failed to prevent Trump from going full Donald during his unhinged press conference following the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Maybe that’s why the new chief of staff wants to control what information the president sees.
According to Politico, Kelly and White House staff secretary Rob Porter have “initiated a new policymaking process” through which the two men — and no one else — “will review all documents that cross the Resolute Desk.” In other words, no single piece of paper having to do with the latest policy proposal or Breitbart conspiracy theory will find itself on the president’s desk without Kelly and Porter’s vetting and approval. Two memos authored by the two men and distributed to relevant staffers indicate this will be the case for all “external policy documents, internal policy memos, agency reports, and even news articles.”
The result of Kelly and Porter’s new process will be what they call a “decision memo,” a final document that will summarize “the input of Cabinet agencies and policy councils” and present Trump with numerous options and their drawbacks — thereby making his decisions that much easier (and better informed). Considering the president’s proclivity for reading his own Google search results and intuiting possible policy moves via his advisors’ many television appearances, however, whether or not Trump accepts Kelly’s new information delivery method remains to be seen.