Trump's chief of staff John Kelly to leave at end of year

Lamar Ellis
December 8, 2018

The retired Marine Corps general has spent 16months in the position.

The report points to Pence's chief of staff Nick Ayers, as the most likely replacement for Kelly.

Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, has emerged as the clear favorite to replace Kelly.

The president told one of his associates on Thursday night: 'Stop calling John [Kelly] for anything. "He's a great guy".

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Trump is becoming increasingly concerned about Democrats taking over the House in January, and has privately said he needs someone else to help shape the last two years of his first term, which he predicts will be politically focused. The relationship seems to have frayed beyond fix.

That's according to Axios Friday, citing anonymous White House sources who claim the president and Kelly are butting heads. An unfettered Trump installed him in place of the ousted Jeff Sessions less than 24 hours after the polls closed on November 6 in the first move of an expected overhaul of Cabinet secretaries and senior White House aides. It is true that there is little chemistry remaining between the two men, the people said - even though Trump only months ago asked Kelly to stay on through 2020, and the general agreed. Trump began circumventing many of the policies and protocols he enacted, and he was on the verge of being fired or resigning numerous times.

But inside the White House, it was viewed largely as an attempt to clamp down on speculation about Kelly's fate during the midterm elections, rather than a true vote of confidence.

This story is developing and will be updated. On Friday, he announced that he had picked William Barr for attorney general and Heather Nauert for United Nations ambassador. "We will be announcing who will take John's place".

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