Rumors of Chief of Staff’s impending departure and misery in the job have been swirling for months, but President Trump put an end to speculation over John Kelly’s fate on Saturday.
Speaking with reporters on the South Lawn, Trump said Kelly would be “leaving at the end of the year.”
“John Kelly will be leaving. I don’t know if I can say retiring,” he said. “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. I’ll announce that.”
“He’s been with me almost two years now as you know between the two positions,” he continued. “But John Kelly will be leaving towards the end of the year, at the end of the year. I appreciate his service very much. Thank you. Thank you all.”
John Kelly leaving at the end of the year pic.twitter.com/o6rRSCK2lr
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) December 8, 2018
Reports of Kelly’s impending departure have been circulating for months. CNN and Axios were first to report on Friday that Trump and Kelly’s personal relationship had fizzled out this week, claiming the two hadn’t spoken in at least two days. The Associated Press reported Saturday that Trump had asked advisers to “Give Nick a call,” referring to Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, who is widely considered Trump’s favorite to replace Kelly.