White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has told White House staff he will remain in his high-wire post of trying to maintain order in the Trump White House through the rest of the president's entire term, according to a report.
Kelly declined Trump's initial request to stick with him through 2024 if he's reelected, one of the officials said.
On Monday, Trump marked Kelly's anniversary by posting to Twitter a photo of the two men smiling in the Oval Office with the caption "Congratulations to General John Kelly. This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration's many successes".
Speculation about Kelly's exit hit a fever pitch about a month ago, with Trump openly weighing possible replacements. Add Trump Administration as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Trump Administration news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
"I'm leaving and I'm not coming back", Kelly has told his aides, only to show up for work the following day, according to Politico, which reported that he has spent early mornings at his gym.
Kelly a four-start Marine general, took the post when his commander-in-chief asked him to, moving over from the Department of Homeland Security. But the stability he has brought to the White House after the persistent chaos and infighting that marred the first year of Trump's presidency has been valued by White House staffers.
Kelly has told allies that he feels it his duty to serve even if he and the president differ on style and messaging. (It might have been more interesting and revealing if one or both of them had leapt up and stormed out of the room, but no dice.) So far no one is claiming that Kelly's relationship with Trump is anything other than grudgingly tolerable, sounding more like a old, bad marriage than a relatively new, dysfunctional employment situation.
But relations between the two have improved in recent months amid signs that Kelly plans to stay on, aides said. "Kelly is essentially calling Trump's bluff", says Sherman.