Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had some words of advice for newly-minted White House chief of staff John Kelly: “Buy a big bottle of Scotch.”
Panetta — Kelly’s former boss at the Pentagon who served as chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton — was tasked with attempting to keep things in order during chaotic times at the executive mansion.
“I told John he’s going to need a big bottle of Scotch to deal with that chief of staff job,” he told The Boston Globe Friday, noting Kelly’s no-nonsense approach and military background could prove to be valuable in his new role.
Panetta likened attempting to tackle the issues the administration is facing to going to war, saying it takes a tactful strategist to keep things in line.
“This is a guy who believes in discipline, a strong chain of command, a process for developing policy, and does not tolerate chaos,” Panetta continued. “So in some, ways he’s been dropped into a combat zone.”
Kelly — a retired marine general and combat veteran — could have the right temperament to command President Donald Trump’s respect.
“He’d basically look at me and say, ‘I think that proposal is four-letter-word nuts,’” Panetta told The New York Times. “John is the kind of guy who will look you in the eye and tell you what the hell he is thinking. The real question is whether the president will give him the authority he needs to do the job.”
Kelly was sworn in Monday after former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus was pushed out Friday.
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