×

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

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.”

More Biz

  • Photo taken July 18, 2019, from

    More Than 20 Feared Dead in Arson Attack on Japan's Kyoto Animation

    UPDATED: More than 20 people are feared to have died Thursday morning in an arson attack on the Kyoto Animation company in Japan, shocking a nation in which extreme violence is very rare. Emergency services in Kyoto City received a call about 10:35 a.m. local time reporting an explosion on the first floor of the [...]

  • Haim Saban

    Haim Saban Pledges to Invest $500 Million to Launch Music Label

    Businessman, investor and philanthropist Haim Saban, who heads the Saban Capital Group, has pledged to invest $500 million to launch a record label. Saban Music Group (SMG) will be led by music executive Gustavo Lopez and focus on “international A&R, artist development and strategically supporting a 360 model for artists,” reads a release announcing SMG, [...]

  • Street scene Sunset Boulevard at night

    In Los Angeles, Rock and Roll Fights to Save the Sunset Strip

    On a recent Saturday evening on Sunset Boulevard, just beyond the nightly caravan of European sports cars and open-air tour buses that have seen better days, the famous Tower Records building was once again bathed in the familiar red and yellow paint job of the iconic music store that once occupied its stone-brick walls. Though [...]

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Universal Music Files Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit From Artists Claiming Fire Damage

    Universal Music Group filed a motion on Wednesday to dismiss a class-action lawsuit from attorneys representing Soundgarden, Hole, Steve Earle and the estates of Tupac and Tom Petty over master recordings reportedly destroyed in a 2008 fire, the extent of which was revealed last month in a New York Times article. UMG argues that the musicians cannot pursue a [...]

  • After Yet Another Rejection, What Could

    After Yet Another Rejection, What Could Be Next for Woodstock 50?

    In the wake of the Town of Vernon’s third rejection of Woodstock 50’s permit application to hold its music festival at a venue in the Upstate New York municipality, one may well wonder what the troubled event’s next move might be. In the hours after the latest rejection was announced, even the optimistic-bordering-on-unrealistic producers sounded [...]

  • US actor Kevin Spacey (C) is

    Kevin Spacey Sexual Assault Case Dropped in Nantucket

    Nantucket prosecutors have dropped a sexual assault case against actor Kevin Spacey, citing the “unavailability” of the complaining witness. Spacey had been accused of groping an 18-year-old busboy at the Club Car restaurant in July 2016. He was charged with indecent sexual assault, and a trial was set to be held in the fall. However, [...]

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Universal Music Updates Staff on Fire Damage in Internal Memo (Read)

    Ahead of an expected motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed last month by several artists over damage in the 2008 fire that destroyed hundreds of thousands of master recordings, according to the New York Times, the company’s chief archivist, Pat Kraus, issued a memo to the staff that has been obtained by Variety. While the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content