LOS ANGELES- President Trump's new chief of staff, John Kelly, is eyeing his Homeland Security spokesperson David Lapan for the role of White House communications director, two high-level administration sources told CNNMoney.
Representative Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, was previously considered for the Homeland Security job before Trump nominated Kelly and he's favored as Kelly's replacement by some administration officials. Kelly needs to implement changes that ensure Trump receives good advice, and that the president is disciplined in his communications with foreign powers.
Kelly is such a towering figure that even Donald Trump is trying to step up his game.
It was an early indication that Kelly, a decorated retired Marine general who served three tours in Iraq, is not afraid to stand up to his commander-in-chief.
And then there was Anthony Scaramucci, the Trump Mini-Me taken on as communications director, who made it clear he only answered to the president.
The White House said Monday that Trump has "100 percent" confidence in his Cabinet, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Kelly drew praise from lawmakers of both parties Tuesday.
Nearly as quickly, however, partisans and pundits started predicting that Kelly would ultimately lose the battle to bring order to the White House. "They have a beachhead".
Reached for comment, Lapan told CNNMoney he had not spoken to Kelly or anyone else at the White House about the position. Every president must develop sea legs as part of his on-the-job training.
Chaos might be to many a kind description of the first six months of the Trump administration, and while many applaud the president's new approach to governing, there should be little debate that the lack of discipline in this administration was hurting progress on important policy issues. He suggested Kelly should convince ousted press secretary Sean Spicer to stay on, at least through the tax overhaul effort.
Trump has yet to notch up a major legislative win and Kelly has scant experience with lawmakers.
These predictions, however, are all coming from people who hated Trump all along and desperately want him out of the White House. "Only way for me to get the truth out!"
Kelly's success in a chaotic White House will depend on how much authority he is granted and whether Trump's dueling aides will put aside their rivalries to work together.
Kelly, a whip-cracking retired general who was sworn in as White House chief of staff on Monday, had demanded to speak to the president alone after Trump complained loudly that the USA was admitting travelers from countries he viewed as high risk. The official insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the administration's internal dynamics.
"I'll try, sir", Kelly replied.
The stern Marine who dramatically replaced Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff was explicitly brought in to bring order to the warring factions in the west wing - and by all accounts, he is succeeding.
But Cohen wondered how long Trump would go before undermining Kelly. The bill's point-based system would instead "favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families, and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy", Trump said. "He instinctively likes to be his own chief of staff and he's a pretty bad one".