Former White House chief of staff John Kelly, who was assigned to bring a level of discipline to President Donald Trump’s often chaotic administration, is leaving the post after months of internal tensions increasingly spilled into view, Trump said Saturday.
“John Kelly will be leaving toward the end of the year,” the president told reporters as he left the White House for the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia.
While the two men have clashed in recent months, Trump called Kelly “a great guy.”
Kelly’s decision ends a tumultuous 17-month tenure in which he tried, but largely failed, to bring a Marine Corps-style order to a White House that has hewed more closely to the freewheeling management style Trump embraced as a New York businessman.
The retired four-star general had sought to build a tighter organization around Trump, limiting access for staff who grew accustomed to Trump’s open-door policy in the Oval Office. But the 68-year-old Kelly increasingly found himself sidelined by a president who chafed at being “managed” by others.
In the beginning, Kelly was able to streamline Trump’s schedule and squelch the flow of information that reached his desk – some of which was not vetted before it was repeated on his Twitter feed. On his first day in July 2017, Kelly ousted Trump’s bombastic communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, after he unloaded on colleagues in an interview.
Gradually, however, Trump beat back some Kelly’s restrictions, and occasionally complained he was being cut off from friends. Members of Trump’s family, including first lady Melania Trump, also complained about Kelly’s attempts to limit access.
SOURCE: David Jackson, John Fritze and Gregory Korte