Trump Replaces Reince Priebus With John F. Kelly as Chief of Staff

General John F. Kelly, USMC (Retired)
REX/Shutterstock

President Trump has selected Gen. John F. Kelly as his chief of staff, replacing Reince Priebus in the latest major shakeup of Trump’s six-month old administration.

Trump made the announcement on Twitter, calling Kelly, currently the Secretary of Homeland Security, “a great American and a great leader.” Trump was on Air Force One at the time, returning from a speech in New York.

“John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration,” Trump wrote.

There had been widespread speculation that Priebus was on his way out, after the departure of Sean Spicer as press secretary last week. Spicer was spokesman for the Republican National Committee when Priebus served as chairman.

Trump also tweeted about Priebus, “I would like to thank Reince Priebus for his service and dedication to his country. We accomplished a lot together and I am proud of him!”

Priebus was traveling with Trump on Friday, according to a White House pool report, but CNN reported that Priebus offered his resignation on Thursday. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that Trump’s conversations with Priebus about a shakeup started about two weeks ago. Kelly will begin his duties on Monday, she said, followed by a cabinet meeting.

“General John Kelly is one of the true stars of the Administration,” Sanders said. “He has helped seal the border and reduced illegal immigration by 70%. He is respected by everyone, especially the people at the Department of Homeland Security. The entire Administration loves him and no one is comparable.”

While Priebus’ tenure has been a D.C. guessing game, his status was in doubt ever since Trump named Anthony Scaramucci as his new communications director a week ago. Scaramucci sent out a tweet on Wednesday that appeared to link Priebus to leaks coming out of the White House. Then, on Thursday morning, Scaramucci called into CNN’s Chris Cuomo and said, “If Reince wants to explain that he’s not a leaker, let him do that.” Scaramucci said that his interview with Cuomo had Trump’s blessing.

Later in the day, the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza published an expletive-filled interview with Scaramucci, in which he mocked Priebus and said that he “didn’t get the hint that I was reporting directly to the President.” He bashed Priebus as “paranoid schizophrenic.”

On Thursday, Kelly’s name was floated as a possible successor to Priebus, although media outlets were still caught off guard by the abrupt way that Trump announced the shakeup.

Kelly, 67, is a retired four-star Marine Corps general and was a commander in Iraq. He was confirmed as Homeland Security secretary in a vote of 88-11. His son, Robert Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan in 2010 while serving with the Marines.

Kelly’s selection comes at the end of a chaotic week that saw the collapse in the Senate of efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare; Trump’s repeated and public attacks on his attorney general, Jeff Sessions; and the president’s announcement on Twitter that transgender individuals would be banned from military service.

Priebus also is the latest high-level official to leave the White House in its early months. In addition to Spicer, there have been departures of Michael Flynn as national security adviser and Mike Dubke as communications director, while Trump fired FBI director James Comey.

House Speaker Paul Ryan issued a statement praising Priebus.

“Reince Priebus has left it all out on the field, for our party and our country. Here is a guy from Kenosha, Wisconsin who revitalized the Republican National Committee and became White House chief of staff.

“He has served the president and the American people capably and passionately. He has achieved so much, and he has done it all with class. I could not be more proud to call Reince a dear friend.”

Update: Priebus released his own statement.

“It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve this President and our country,” he said. “I want to thank the President for giving me this very special opportunity.  I will continue to serve as a strong supporter of the President’s agenda and policies.  I can’t think of a better person than General John Kelly to succeed me and I wish him God’s blessings and great success.”

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Priebus said that Trump “was right to hit the reset button.”

He declined to address Scarmucci’s comments, saying, “I am not going to get in the mud on those sorts of things.”

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  1. MyMuse311 says:

    Is this the White House or a bad episode of BIG BROTHER?????????

  2. Steve Barr says:

    When Hitler came to power he wiped out the people who helped him . It became known as The night of the Long Knives . History repeats itself first as tragedy then as farce. Hitler had his brown shirts , Trump has his base . Sound familiar ?

    • Kaboom! says:

      Wasn’t Hitler the guy who took away all the guns from the people so they couldn’t defend themselves? Obama tried that, thankfully he failed. He was the real modern Hitler.

      • Millions of Guns Makes the USA a Safer Place says:

        Keep saying that to yourself when you get shot with an assault weapon purchased legally by a mentally ill gun enthusiast.. Thank Trump for that.

    • Timely Comment says:

      The Trump internecine battle for the Republican hearts and minds continue…

      Pass the political popcorn. “Enjoy!”

      (And the world has another DISTRACTION from the Congressional FAILURE of Trump’s repeal of Obamacare— Scaramucci -> Priebus’ firing to draw attention away from this Congressional defeat… which tv and the MSM will magnify and bleat. Bravo for Bannon’s attempt to shake the political metal keys and DISTRACT once more… )

    • PET says:

      Hitler? LOL, you are such an idiot.

  3. John says:

    Trump is getting rid of everyone that helped him won the election; Priebus was the one who got the Republican delegates on board for Trump. Sessions was the first Senator to endorse Trump. If Sessions gets fired, then Jared Kushner will be next; followed by Trump’s impeachment.

  4. The Truth says:

    How long will General Kelly abide Trump’s unpresidential behavior and fake patriot bullshit? Don’t bet on this arrangement to go the distance.

  5. Rudy Mario says:

    Tick tock tick tock…who is next? Is it Sessions, or that general or Bannon. Bannon has gone low key in accordance with the wishes of his neo nazi members ( about 30% of the “anglo population) who want one of them in the white house. So Jeff is the next. Back to sweet home ( redneck) Alabama.

    Meanwhile Democrats focus on transgendersim!

  6. Rudy Mario says:

    What a fool this Priebus is. When rumors started a few months ago that the plan was to ship him off as Ambassador to his native Greece, he should have jumped at it. Instead of milking goats in Greece which has great weather and getting a tan, he will now be milking cows in terrible Wisconsin with its horrible weather.

  7. Alex says:

    Priebus resigned Thursday, he wasn’t fired. Variety should stick to entertainment news.

  8. Bas says:

    Now Bannon next please. Nice one Scarmucci!

  9. Noel O'Neill says:

    If you’re not loyal to this dumb so called President, you get the shaft! It used to be enough to be loyal to your country. He is building his regime now like Putin!

  10. Blue Silver says:

    …Another one bites the dust!… This is playing out like the political version of Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians”…..

  11. The Truth says:

    (1) Your troll ads for Insurance Panda are super tired. (2) Most Americans prefer Obamacare to their previous healthcare situation. (3) Your auto insurance is worthless. (4) The only polls that “show Putin is a better President than Obama” are conducted by the Russian government.

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