Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

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

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly expected to step down soon, sources say White House chief of staff John Kelly expected to step down soon
Jeannette Daniel | 08 December, 2018, 21:09

They tell the Wall Street Journal that Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence's most senior aide, will replace Kelly as chief of staff. "Stop calling John [Kelly] for anything", President Trump is quoted as saying.

Trump is actively discussing a replacement plan, though a person involved in the process said nothing is final right now and ultimately nothing is final until Trump announces it. Trump has taken the unusual step of inviting Ayers to recently accompany him on Air Force One, even without Pence present, the people said.

Trump, meanwwhile, announced Saturday that he's picked a battle-hardened commander who oversaw troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to be the nation's next top military adviser.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins reported on Friday that Trump and Kelly had reached a "stalemate in their relationship", and had stopped speaking to one another. His absence from his office this morning is a key indicator of this - and there is a sense among White House officials that at tonight's scheduled dinner with Trump and senior White House staff Kelly will be thanked for service and the transition to Ayers. Vanity Fair reported in 2017 Kelly's discipline put a strain on his relationship with Trump and cited an unnamed source who said Trump and Kelly were "fighting a lot". But each time the two have decided to make amends, even as Kelly's influence has waned.

More news: Final meteor shower of 2018 goes next weekend

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

But those efforts also miffed the president and some of his most influential outside allies, who had grown accustomed to unimpeded access.

This story is breaking and being updated.

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