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WASHINGTON – Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on Sunday said the president may not replace his chief of staff if John Kelly, who currently serves the role, were to leave the White House.
Instead, Lewandowski said, Trump could institute a staff structure similar to ones used by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter.
Trump has recently mused about the idea of life without someone in the role of chief of staff, where a handful of aides would instead report directly to him, NBC News reported this week. Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon agreed that the situation was possible in favor of a more free-flowing “Trump Tower” style approach with multiple top aides offering input.
“I think that's a scenario that could very well play out,” Lewandowski said on Sunday’s “Meet The Press.” “We know that John F. Kennedy didn't have a chief of staff his entire presidency. He had it for a period of time. Jimmy Carter to a lesser extent, the same thing.”
Lewandowski added that he sees Trump as a decision maker who “loves to have all the information brought to him.”
“I see him as the hub with a number of spokes coming out,” he said. “And candidly, and I'm not advocating for General Kelly to leave. I think he should stay. But if he were to go, I don't think there is one person who is the chosen one to step in and fill that role.”
Trump has already watched over numerous staff shakeups over the last few weeks, including the departures of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn, Communications Director Hope Hicks, and attorney John Dowd.
Lewandowski maintained that it’s the responsibility of staff members to leave if they aren’t on board with the president’s agenda.
"You can have a disagreement with the president,” he said. "He wants to have conversations on all sides. But when the decision is made, you have to be on the team because the president is the final arbiter.”