The role of Keith Schiller on Donald Trump's team has always been a little hard to explain. Schiller has long served as the head of Trump's private security detail, and after the election, the Republican envisioned a role in which he'd be the president's "full-time physical gatekeeper" at the White House.With this in mind, it was a bit of a surprise to see Schiller's name come up as part of the James Comey story yesterday. Politico reported:
Comey had flown on an FBI plane to Los Angeles for a "diversity and recruiting" event. Trump's director of Oval Office operations, longtime security aide Keith Schiller, hand-delivered the dismissal letter to FBI headquarters.
Got that? As John Harwood noted, the fact that "Trump's longtime personal bodyguard hand-delivered [the] Comey termination letter will not discourage banana-republic comparisons."Slate's Joshua Keating made a related point, wondering how we'd perceive events like these if they happened in another country: "The dismissal of Comey, carried out via a letter delivered by the president's former personal bodyguard while the director was traveling outside the capital, has thrown the government into disarray."So why in the world did Trump rely on Schiller for this role?"The way this was done, I think was done to send a message to the FBI agents left behind," a senior intelligence official told NBC News. "It's not just that they removed him -- it's that they did it in the most thuggish and humiliating way possible. No notice, no nothing -- instant execution. The bodyguard delivers the letter to headquarters. I think that was designed to send a message: Cut this sh-- out, or this will happen to you. This is like horse head in the bed."That, of course, is in reference to a scene from "The Godfather."Effortless parallels between a White House and an organized-crime family are not reassuring.