At the end of the bizarre photo-op with Democratic leaders in the Oval Office yesterday, a reporter asked Donald Trump about his search for a new chief of staff. "A lot of people want the job," the president replied. "And I have some great people. A lot of friends of mine want it."
Soon after, in an interview with Reuters, the Republican added, "I have at least 10, 12 -- 12 people that want it badly. Everybody wants it." Trump went on to say he could announce a new chief of staff "immediately" if he wanted to.
The phrase "doth protest too much" keeps coming to mind.
Trump clearly wants the political world to believe the process is well in hand, and there's no reason anyone should see this fiasco as fresh evidence of this president's inability to complete basic tasks. But reality keeps getting in the way.
White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly will remain in the job through at least Jan. 2 to ensure "a very peaceful and pragmatic transition" for his successor, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday. [...]"He will stay on the job through January 2 at least, and I think there will be a very peaceful and pragmatic transition to the next chief of staff," she said.
So to recap, a few days ago, Trump said John Kelly would step down at the end of December. The president added that he would announce the new chief of staff in the "next day or two."
As of yesterday, Kelly is no longer stepping down at the end of December, and we should look for some kind of presidential announcement about his successor in "a week or two."
Remember, in Trump World, "two weeks" routinely reflects meaningless timelines for things that never happen.
There's no great mystery as to how the president ended up at this point. As Politico noted this week, "It’s a different story under Trump. A job that was once a ticket to Washington royalty has recently become a laughingstock."