After a months-long, rough-and-tumble relationship with some officials inside the Trump Administration, including getting into a screaming match with National Security Adviser John Bolton, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is expected to stay through the end of the year, per remarks from President Donald Trump. The 68-year-old four-star Marine Corps general has been widely expected to leave over the past week, with many claiming that he and the President were no longer on speaking terms nearing the end of last week.
Trump announced during a senior staff meeting in July that he had asked Kelly to stay through the 2020 election, with the former general agreeing. Since then, however, the relationship between the two officials took a downturn.
During a post-midterm election press conference at the White House – the one after which CNN reporter Jim Acosta had his press credentials revoked – President Trump spoke of changes coming within his Cabinet, with three to five position changes expected to be made. As reporters pressed the commander-in-chief to confirm the future of Kelly and other administration officials, Trump said “[P]eople leave. I haven’t heard about John Kelly. But, no, people — people leave. They come in, they’re here. It’s a very exhausting job.”
“There are a couple of things where it’s just not his strength. It’s not his fault. It’s not his strength,” President Trump explained, adding that there will be a point when Kelly “is going to want to move on.”
Nevertheless, when Kelly is replaced at the end of December, his expected successor has been rumored to be Nick Ayers, the young chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence. According to some reports, Trump has been telling those close to him to “call Ayers” if they have a request for official business in the White House. Therefore, the ascension of the 36-year-old “wonderkid” within 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue had become less of a secret.
On Friday morning, Trump also announced his picks for two other top Cabinet-level positions. He tapped former Justice Department head William Barr for U.S. Attorney General – after ousting Jeff Sessions – and acting-Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Heather Nauert to the post of U.N. Ambassador – after Nikki Haley announced that she would leave at the end of 2018.