White House chief of staff John Kelly took over the White House press briefing Thursday to assure the American people of a few things: He’s not quitting, and he’s not getting fired. He thinks.
“I would just offer to you that although I read it all of the time pretty consistently, I’m not quitting today,” he told reporters, after press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders introduced him by saying she was “calling in the Marines.
“I don’t believe, and I just talked to the President, I don’t think I’m being fired today,” Kelly continued. “And I’m not so frustrated in this job that I’m thinking of leaving.”
Kelly took over as White House chief of staff at the end of July, replacing former Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus. He’s attempted to institute a measure of control and professionalism on the Trump administration, though stories of infighting are common.
One reporter asked Kelly about any frustrations he had with the job so far. The chief of staff had called it the most difficult he’d ever done.
“This is really, really hard work, running the United States of America,” Kelly said.
He corrected himself.
“I don’t run it, but I’m working for someone who is dedicated to serving the country in the way that he’s talked about for a number of years.”
Earlier, Kelly complained that one of three off-the-record interviews he had given to journalists “was of course was violated,” though it wasn’t immediately clear what he was referring to.
“But thank you for all of those that didn’t violate the trust from those off the record periods,” he added.
Later, Kelly said his “only frustration, with all due respect to everyone in the room, is when I come to work in the morning and read about things I allegedly said, or things that Mr. Trump allegedly said, or people who are going to be fired or whatever.”
“And it’s just not true,” he continued. “That’s my frustration, and I mean no disrespect to you all.”