US president Donald Trump said in front of a gaggle of reporters before departing for the Army-Navy football game that chief of staff John Kelly would be out from his position by the end of the year and that Trump would announce a replacement within the next few days.
Trump told reporters “John Kelly will be leaving — I don’t know if I can say ‘retiring, but he’s a great guy. John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year.”
The current top pick to replace Kelly is Nick Ayers, vice president Mike Pence’s current chief of staff. Kelly was brought on to bring order to the White House after the previous chief of staff, former chairmen of the Republican National Committee, was ousted last July.
When Kelly first came on, he ran the White House with a tight grip on what was happening and who had access to what. Over time, as Trump became less receptive to this form of control, the daily staff meetings that Kelly held turned into weekly ones as Trump respected less and less of the stringent rules that Kelly had put in place. One big sticking point for Kelly was his ability to control who had access to those in the White House, but as his tenure went on, his control in diminished there as well.
Kelly has had a strained relationship with Trump in the last couple of months, along with several threats of him leaving or resigning due to various incidents in his tenure, such as dealing with the fallout of Charlottesville in August of 2017 and the resignation of Rob Porter in February of this year after several accusations of abuse forced him out.
Alongside the Trumps decision to change his chief of staff is the announcement of the new attorney general William Barr, who will need to be confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate in order to assume the position. Trump said, “He was my first choice since Day 1, he’ll be nominated.” Barr had previously served during the late Bush administration from 1991 to 1993 and has been a proponent of a strong presidential power, something important to Trump as the Mueller investigation continues. Trump also announced the nomination of Heather Nauert, currently the chief spokeswomen for the State Department, as his pick to replace Nikki Haley as ambassador to the UN, who also has to be confirmed by the Senate to assume the position.