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“”This is the worst f—ing job I’ve ever had.”
So snapped John Kelly on a March morning in the West Wing, according to a new book by Cliff Sims. The chief of staff was sitting in his office, a light-filled space where the White House swimming pool was just visible beyond French doors. “People apparently think that I care when they write that I might be fired. If that ever happened, it would be the best day I’ve had since I walked into this place,” Kelly told the small group of aides in front of him. “And the president knows it, too.”
One of those aides in Kelly’s office was Sims himself. In title alone, Sims was unexceptional—a communications adviser most notable for helping the White House in its efforts to overhaul the tax code. But by virtue of an uncommonly close relationship with President Donald Trump, starting on the campaign, Sims enjoyed access to many of this administration’s most telling moments—witnessing, for example, the former four-star Marine general come unglued under the demands of serving as Trump’s gatekeeper.
Sims recounts this scene and dozens more in Team of Vipers, his 384-page tell-all, which goes on sale Tuesday and was obtained by The Atlantic. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Kelly’s expletive-filled rant captures the spirit of this administration, at least as drawn by Sims. The book is filled with insights into some of the most defining elements of Trump’s White House, including the president’s strained relationships with former House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the rampant infighting, and the mechanics—such as they were—that underlay key policy decisions. The result is a cutting account of an administration steeped in turmoil from the outset.”
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