Home LIFESTYLE Style News Is Sean Hannity the Greatest Threat to John Kelly’s Job?

Is Sean Hannity the Greatest Threat to John Kelly’s Job?

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John Kelly’s constant battle to contain Donald Trump remains a Sisyphean task. The harder the White House chief of staff tries to control the flow of information reaching the president—limiting his exposure to unsolicited opinions, curating the printouts he receives from staffers, and planning to bar him from excessive mingling at Mar-a-Lago, which he’s been known to convert into an open-air Situation Room—the more the president reportedly chafes, making late-night calls to allies from the East Wing and sending inflammatory early morning tweets. Among the most powerful outside advisers to the president, the Los Angeles Times reports, is Fox News host Sean Hannity—a longtime Trump cheerleader who has apparently managed to circumvent Kelly, inserting his own clamorous opinions into an already chaotic White House.

When he’s not attempting to influence the president via his prime-time cable-news show, Hannity reportedly talks to Trump on the phone several nights a week. And the president takes his advice seriously: according to the Times, Hannity is to blame for thwarting Trump’s deal with Democrats to protect undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children, calling him over the weekend and insisting that he demand hard-line concessions in return. Bucking Kelly, who approved of the deal, Trump sent Congress a list of demands Sunday in exchange for enshrining DACA into law—demands that included funding for the border wall and the end of “sanctuary cities.” The list made it impossible for Democrats to agree to a deal and all but destroyed any bipartisan spirit surrounding the protection of the program. (Deputy White House press secretary Lindsay Walters told the Times that Hannity’s role was overblown—“The President has always had a robust list of outside advisers in business and politics because he is open minded and ultimately wants to do the right thing for the country,” she said.)

Days after Trump made his counter-offer, he appeared on Hannity’s show to defend his decision to a friendly audience. “If we’re going to do something, we need to get something in return,” he said Wednesday night, acknowledging that while he felt sympathy for DACA beneficiaries, he wanted to keep his campaign promises. Hannity offered high praise and softballs in return—exactly what the president’s staff, which has reportedly kept him away from adversarial interviews of late, had hoped for. Trump responded cheerfully, praising Hannity’s ratings to the crowd behind him. “I’m so proud of you,” he told the host at one point.

If that’s all it takes to sway the president, Kelly could be forced to invent new blockades—that is, if he doesn’t quit first. As my colleague Gabriel Sherman reported yesterday, Kelly only stays in his job out of a sense of duty, and finds it grating to babysit the president in what Bob Corker recently called an “adult day care center.” If and when he does eventually step down, as all chiefs of staff do, it won’t be because Hannity made his job any easier.

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