Trump ‘crushed’ by under-reported staff departure
You’ve heard of Michael Flynn, Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus, Anthony Scaramucci, and Steve Bannon. Chances are you had not heard of Keith Schiller until the Labor Day weekend, when news of his departure trickled out. As it turns out, the latest person to jump ship from the SS Trump may be a bigger deal than any of the others:
President Donald Trump’s allies are worried that the most damaging of the many recent departures from his White House may be that of Keith Schiller, a little-known former bodyguard who’s one of the president’s closest confidants outside his family.
Schiller is leaving the White House soon to return to the private security business, according to three people familiar with his plans, for a job that will pay far more than his $165,000 government salary. His title, director of Oval Office operations, hardly begins to describe his importance to Trump, who is “crushed” by his planned departure, according to one person close to the president.
Multiple people interviewed described Schiller as an emotional anchor for the president in a White House often marked by turmoil. Schiller has worked for Trump for nearly two decades, and within the West Wing he serves as the president’s protector, gate-keeper and wing man, according to people close to Schiller and Trump. …
Schiller has also acted as Trump’s hatchet-man. It was Schiller who told James Comey that the president had decided to fire him as FBI director. Two weeks ago, after Trump was angered by preparations for a rally in Phoenix, Schiller delivered the message to another longtime aide, George Gigicos, that Trump no longer wanted him to organize such events, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Schiller never planned to stay in the position for long because of its lower pay and longer hours, according to two people who know him. But his exit may have been accelerated by the appointment in July of retired Marine general John Kelly as Trump’s chief of staff. …
Schiller lost his privilege to walk into the Oval Office at any time when Kelly took over. And he now views his job as somewhat redundant, people close to him said. The president has Secret Service to protect him, valets to fetch what he needs, aides to dial his phone — people to handle every facet of Oval Office operations. …
Schiller served in the Navy and as a New York City police officer before becoming a part-time body guard for Trump in 1999. He was named head of security for the Trump Organization in 2004. He knows most employees at the company and shares his opinion of all staffers, inside and outside the White House, with the president.
Axios has several details that Bloomberg didn’t report:
Trump’s friends worry about the effect Schiller’s absence will have on the president’s psyche. Trump believes Schiller “tells him the truth because the only dog he has in the fight is the boss,” a friend told Axios. Trump confides in Schiller and asks his advice about everything, including policy
Schiller, a former NYPD officer who is beloved by the original staff from the Trump campaign, is also a Breitbart-style conservative who kept Trump in touch with the Republican base and with the law enforcement community.
“He’s a winger! He’s one of us,” said another friend of Schiller’s.
And that likely means that he was “triggering” Trump as much as Omarosa is reported to have done.
It’s looking like a John Kelly two-fer.