Trump: “John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year, we will be announcing who will be taking John’s place”
Although General John Kelly had agreed to stay in his position until 2020, President Trump is reportedly removing Kelly from his position as White House Chief of Staff.
Kelly was brought in to replace Reince Priebus and instill order to the chaotic Trump White House, and by all accounts he did an admirable job. Trump has announced that Kelly will leave his position by the end of the year.
President Trump on Saturday said that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly will leave his position at the end of the year — after swirling rumors that Kelly’s 17 month-long tenure in the Trump administration was nearing its end.
Trump spoke to reporters outside the White House, called Kelly a “great guy” and said his replacement will be announced in the next few days.
“John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year, we will be announcing who will be taking John’s place, it might be on an interim basis, I’ll be announcing that over the next day or two,” he said.
“I appreciate his service very much,” he added.
Kelly, who previously served as Department of Homeland Security secretary, was widely reported to have been considering leaving his post. Trump had previously said Kelly would stay until 2020. The announcement comes amid a wider shakeup of staff by President Trump. On Friday, he announced that he had picked William Barr for attorney general and Heather Nauert for U.N. ambassador.
According to reports, the person most likely to be the White House Chief of Staff is Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff, Nick Ayers.
Mr. Trump, speaking with reporters on the White House lawn before departing for the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, said that he would announce a replacement for Mr. Kelly, perhaps on an interim basis, in the next day or two.
“John Kelly will be leaving — I don’t know if I can say ‘retiring,’” the president said. “But he’s a great guy. John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year.”
The leading candidate to replace Mr. Kelly is Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff and a Republican political operative, who possesses the kind of savvy about campaigns that Mr. Trump has craved. Mr. Kelly, a career military officer before becoming Mr. Trump’s first homeland security secretary, lacked such experience.
Mr. Ayers, 36, has told Mr. Trump that he would serve on an interim basis through the spring, when his family will return to Georgia, according to people familiar with the discussions. But Mr. Trump, who frets about the image of a White House in constant chaos, wants a full-time replacement and is eager for Mr. Ayers to stay for the duration.
If the president ultimately turns to another candidate, potential choices include the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin; his budget director, Mick Mulvaney; and the United States trade representative, Robert Lighthizer.
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