Trump says chief of staff John Kelly to leave at year's end

Sunday, 09 Dec, 2018

It is unclear who the replacement would be.

The White House senior staff meeting Friday morning was canceled, according to three officials.

"He's been with me nearly two years now, between two positions", Mr Trump told reporters. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive personnel matters. Nick Ayers, the vice president's chief of staff, is seen as a leading candidate. During Trump's flight home from a recent trip to Paris, some aides aboard Air Force One tried to convince the president that Ayers was the wrong person for the job, according to two people familiar with the matter. Ayers, a sharp-elbowed and ambitious Georgia operative, fits the bill, advisers said.

This story is developing and will be updated.

Trump described Kelly as "a great guy", but said he wouldn't describe his departure as a retirement.

CNN reports Kelly and President Donald Trump have reached a stalemate in their relationship and it is no longer seen as tenable by either party. Various factions have privately-and sometimes publicly-bitterly fought, and Trump has bristled at Kelly's management style. A flurry of media reports in April claimed that Kelly had grown increasingly frustrated with the president. No surprise, given that Kelly's exit had always been the subject of rumors.

It also found that White House lawyers objected to the interview of Kelly at first, arguing that executive branch officials should be free from such obligations unless necessary. Kelly became an effective executor of Trump's most racist and despicable policies, namely the family separation policy at the border. It feels like Trump's Chief of Staff has been "on the way out" since shortly after taking the position over from Reince Priebus.

Trump added that he'll be announcing Kelly's replacement, or at least someone to fill that role on an interim basis, in the next couple days. Kelly, who had hired Porter, initially defended him as "a man of true integrity and honor".

Nauert, 48, joined the State Department past year with no government experience after a career as an anchor and correspondent at Fox News.

The announcement comes just days after Trump announced new appointees for the position of attorney general and ambassador to the United Nations.

He said Dunford congratulated Milley on his nomination.

Presidents typically make changes in staffing after midterm elections.