President Trump’s Chief of Staff, John Kelly, will leave the job by the end of the year, the President announced on Saturday.
“John Kelly will be leaving — I don’t know if I can say ‘retiring,’” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn according to The New York Times. “But he’s a great guy. John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year.”
Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, was one of several ex-military men who joined the Trump administration early on, initially as Secretary of Homeland Security. He was later installed as Chief of Staff in July of 2017 after Reince Priebus was let go. Kelly’s also known for ousting former White House aide, Omarosa Manigault-Newman.
Kelly’s departure from the White House comes amid reports that he and Trump are no longer speaking to one another. Their differing styles of leadership – Trump’s more carefree and Kelly’s more strict – was said to be a major source of contention during the latter’s tenure.
"Working in the White House is the hardest thing I've ever done," Kelly told NPR in May 2018. Politico also reported that Kelly allegedly once said that he doesn’t care what Trump does that might lead to his impeachment, because then “at least this chapter of American history would come to a close.”
Kelly’s tumultuous time serving under President Trump was also plagued in controversy. After news broke that White House staff secretary Rob Porter allegedly abused his ex-wives, Kelly came to his defence, praising Porter’s “integrity” and character. But after more details came to light, including a photo of Porter’s first wife with a black eye, Kelly walked back his previous statements, and said that there is “no place for domestic violence in our society”.
President Trump told reporters that he would name Kelly’s interim replacement in the next few days. The frontrunner for the position is rumoured to be Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, though no official confirmation has been given.