If you're White House chief of staff John Kelly, you spend a lot of your day trying to manage a "mercurial" boss who cannot stop aggressively communicating his factually-challenged version of reality to his perceived enemies via Twitter and hot microphones.
That job becomes increasingly stressful when you factor in that the list of aforementioned enemies now includes pro athletes, a nuclear North Korea, most of Congress, and an overwhelming majority of the American public. So when John Kelly looks around the West Wing and sees problems that he can easily solve, you've got to forgive him if he just goes ahead and gets that shit done...
White House chief of staff John Kelly is folding adviser Peter Navarro’s trade office into the National Economic Council – a move that could limit Navarro’s influence in the West Wing.
Navarro, a noted trade economistand utter loon, is a vestigial presence from Steve Bannon's failed attempt to turn the Trump White House into a belligerently anti-globalist wonderland. That fact that Navarro was tapped to run the trade aspect of that playbook speaks volumes about who Peter Navarro is and what just happened to him.
Actually, there is one more thing that should be known about Peter Navarro, and it's that he openly regards China as a root cause for all that is wrong in the world. That's a deeply unhelpful opinion for the lead White House trade advisor to have when John Kelly's foremost concern right now is ratcheting down talk of a trade war with China in order for China to help him ratchet down the possibility of an actual nuclear war with North Korea.
But if you're trying to marginalize and silence a true maniac like Peter Navarro, you're going to need some help. Luckily for Kelly, there is a man in the West Wing with a particular set of skills...skills that he has acquired over a very long career...skills that make him a nightmare for people like Peter Navarro.
The Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, which is run by Navarro, will now be housed within the NEC, four administration officials told POLITICO. That means Navarro will report to NEC Director Gary Cohn, with whom he has repeatedly clashed in recent months.
While we have not been too bowled over by Gary's White House performance thus far, we can safely assume that he is going to absolutely nail this particular assignment. Big Gary is not the guy you want darkening your office doorway, he's a monster of power management. Lloyd Blankfein is looking at this move and thinking "DRAG HIM, big guy!"
Kelly's move is not subtle, but there should be some concern that a nutcase like Navarro will take this as a chance to compete and not an obviously tacit invitation to pack up his shit and go...
“I’m a chain of command guy and will follow Chief Kelly’s orders,” Navarro said in a statement to POLITICO. “The chief has assured me I will continue to have the same seat and voice at the president’s decision-making table.”
Yeah, ok buddy. And how exactly is that going to work with Gary's tree trunk of a leg hiked up on said table, blocking you from view while you shout protectionist trade policy ideas into his ample grundle?
While TV Donald Trump was fond of saying "You're fired," President Donald Trump seems to favor "You work for Gary now."