Gen. James Mattis, Secretary of Defense
Gen. John Kelly, Chief-of-Staff, The White House
Ironically, the retired U.S. Marine general who was known in the military as “Mad Dog Mattis” is now seen as the straightest-shooting member of the Trump administration. When he was appointed to head the Pentagon, the New York Times rightly predicted that he would be “the voice of reason.” As a military commander he was known for his forceful approach to military tactics, his good judgment and his colorful speech. But the saber rattling now comes from the Oval Office not the Pentagon, where Mattis has yet to make a misstep. Trump brought in former Marine Corps General John Kelly to restore order and discipline to the White House but typically was then reluctant to accept his reforms and restrictions. Since the departure of staff secretary Rob Porter following accusations of spousal abuse, and Kelly’s removal of Jared Kushner’s top security clearance, the chief of staff’s authority may have waned.