Trump: Chief of Staff John Kelly will leave his job at end of year

Published: Dec. 8, 2018 at 12:27 PM CST
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President Donald Trump is inching closer to his long-teased major White House shake-up, gearing up for the twin challenges of battling for re-election and dealing with the Democrats’ investigations once they take control of the House.

The biggest piece of the shifting picture: White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s departure now appears certain. Trump says Kelly will leave his job at end of the year.

Trump announced Friday he was picking a new U.S. attorney general and a new ambassador to the U.N. , and at the same time two senior aides departed the White House to beef up his 2020 campaign. But the largest changes were still to come. Kelly’s replacement in the coming weeks is expected to have a ripple effect throughout the administration.

According to nearly a dozen current and former administration officials and outside confidants, Trump is nearly ready to replace Kelly and has even begun telling people to contact the man long viewed as his likely successor.

“Give Nick a call,” Trump has instructed people, referring to Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, according to one person familiar with the discussions.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement thanking General Kelly for his service as White House chief of staff, following the announcement of his departure:

“John Kelly is a patriot. Service to America is part of his DNA, and our country is better for his duty at the White House. During this time he has become a dear friend and trusted partner. He was a force for order, clarity, and good sense. He is departing what is often a thankless job, but John Kelly has my eternal gratitude.”