WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Donald Trump on Saturday (Dec 8) announced his chief of staff John Kelly would be leaving the administration at the end of the year - the latest in a series of moves by the Republican leader to change his inner circle of aides.
Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, was long rumoured to be on the way out, amid reports that his relationship with the volatile Trump had deteriorated to such an extent they were no longer on speaking terms.
"John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year," Trump said before heading to Philadelphia for the Army-Navy football game, adding that a replacement would be named "over the next day or two." Kelly's replacement might be an interim chief of staff, until a permanent successor is found, the Republican president said.
"He's been with me almost two years now, between two positions," Trump told reporters. "I appreciate his service very much." Although Kelly is credited with bringing some discipline to the Oval Office, his tenure was hardly smooth sailing.
Kelly was serving as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security when he was brought in on July 31, 2017, to replace Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff.
Kelly took over a White House plagued by political intrigue and under a cloud because of allegations of election collusion with Russia.