Chief of staff John Kelly reassured White House staffers Friday morning that there were not going to be any personnel changes “at this time,” according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The reassurance came amid reports of a planned staff shakeup and comments from President Donald Trump this week suggesting there “will always be change” in the White House. On Friday, Sanders told reporters about the meeting, in which she said Kelly told staff they “shouldn’t be concerned” about their jobs.
“We should do exactly what we do every day and that’s to come to work and do the very best that we can,” she said. “That’s exactly what we’re focused on and many of us have relayed that to staffers that weren’t part of that meeting.”
NBC News’ Peter Alexander pressed her further, citing Trump’s own comments this week indicating further staff turnover: “We’re getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want.”
“And he just nominated two new people to part of his cabinet, so we are getting close,” she shot back. “We would like those two individuals to be quickly confirmed and quickly put through that process so they can take a seat at the table, so they can continue to engage with the President on big issues that actually matter to the American people.”
When asked why there was still a need for change more than a year into Trump’s presidency, Sanders said that “policy priorities” guide personnel decisions.
“Look, as we’ve said many times before, you want the right people for the right time,” she said. “As policy priorities change, that means sometimes you’re going to have personnel change. That’s not different for this administration as it has been in any other administration and we’ll continue to add new staff regularly.”
The comments follow Trump’s decision to fire his secretary of state over Twitter earlier this week and amid reports that Trump plans to fire his National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in coming days. The White House has denied those reports.