President Trump announced Saturday that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly will be leaving by the end of the year. The president made the announcement to reporters outside the White House, and said that the retired four-star Marine Corps general is a “great guy” and thanked him for his service.
“John Kelly will be leaving,” President Trump said on the South Lawn of the White House. “I don’t know if I would say retiring, but he’s a great guy. John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year. We’ll be announcing who will be taking John’s place. It might be on an interim basis.”
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) tweeted that Kelly has his “eternal gratitude,” and released a statement saying that the former general has been a “trusted partner.”
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) December 8, 2018
Kelly, who filled the role 17 months ago, was previously the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security from January 2017 to July 2017, spent 45 years in the Marine Corps and retired as the commander of U.S. Southern Command, which he led from 2012 to 2016. Kelly succeeded former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who resigned in July 2017.
President Trump says White House Chief of Staff John Kelly will be leaving by the end of the year and his successor will be announced "over the next day or two" https://t.co/UWXxAQ4FWI pic.twitter.com/q5Yv62jNH3
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 8, 2018
The Washington Post reported that Nick Ayers, Vice President Pence’s chief of staff, is Kelly’s likely replacement. Ayers, who was the national chairman of Pence’s 2016 campaign, would focus the White House’s attention on Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, according to Politico. That theory was soon dispelled, however, as Ayers announced Sunday his departure from Pence’s staff to Trump’s re-election campaign.
Thank you @realDonaldTrump, @VP, and my great colleagues for the honor to serve our Nation at The White House. I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause. 🇺🇸 #Georgia
— Nick Ayers (@nick_ayers) December 9, 2018
Trump on Friday announced his intention to nominate William Barr as attorney general and State Department press secretary Heather Nauert as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Also on Friday, White House political director Bill Stepien and Justin Clark, director of the Office of Public Liaison, announced their transition to Trump’s re-election team.
This story was updated on 12/10/18