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Advisers tell Trump he doesn’t need chief of staff, communications director

Trump’s fourth communications director Hope Hicks left the White House on Thursday, and he is yet to name a replacement.

world Updated: Mar 30, 2018 21:12 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
US President Donald Trump,Hope Hicks,John Kelly
US President Donald Trump(AP File)

Advisers are telling US President Donald Trump he can do without a communications director and a chief of staff, but he is yet to take a decision on the suggestion.

Trump’s fourth communications director Hope Hicks left the White House on Thursday, and he staged a brief send-off for pool reporters and photographers before he left Washington. Hicks was Trump’s fourth communications director following Michael Dubke, Sean Spicer and Anthony Scaramucci. That slot has not been filled.

The other position, chief of staff, isn’t vacant. John Kelly, is the second person to hold that office, which is traditionally considered as the gatekeeper to the president, controlling the flow of personnel and paper into the Oval office.

According to CNN, Trump might be inclined to consider the advice as he finds the present set-up unsuited to his free-wheeling style that served him well as a businessman.

Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist to the president, said at a conference last week that if Kelly left, Trump might not name a successor, and may carry on with some people directly reporting to him. Trump is a “very hands-on manager”, he had said.

The last president to do away with a chief of staff was Jimmy Carter (1977-1981). Carter ran the White House by himself for two-and-half years before finally giving up and hiring one. Trump has called Carter one of the worst presidents in US history and might not want to walk in his footsteps.

However, presidents have tended to shuffle around their chiefs of staff. President Barack Obama, for instance, had five — Rahm Emmanuel, Pete Rouse (interim charge), Bill Daley, Jack Lew and Dennis McDonough. Trump is on to his second, naming Kelly to replace Reince Priebus last summer.

Meanwhile, the White House communications director position — established during the Nixon administration — shapes the president’s messaging working with the press secretary.

But Trump is reportedly convinced that no one can speak for him, about him, and his message better than him, and may want to not replace Hicks. He is an avid consumer of cable TV news and obsesses about what is being said about him and his administration.

First Published: Mar 30, 2018 21:12 IST