President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE announced on Saturday that White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE will leave his job by the end of the year, the latest and highest-profile move in a shake-up of Trump's team following Republican losses in November's midterm elections.
Kelly was picked by Trump in July 2017 to bring order to his chaotic White House. But their relationship gradually deteriorated as the president bucked at the constraints the retired Marine Corps general tried to impose.
Trump told reporters at the White House on Saturday that he would select Kelly's successor, possibly someone on an interim basis, within “a day or two.”
“John Kelly will be leaving, retiring. I don't know if I can say ‘retiring,’ ” Trump said on the South Lawn before leaving for Philadelphia to attend the Army-Navy football game. “But he's a great guy. John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year.”
Trump added that he “appreciate[s] his service very much.”
Nick Ayers, a Republican operative who serves as chief of staff to Vice President Pence, is widely considered the front-runner to replace Kelly as Trump's top aide.
Ayers, 36, possesses the political chops that some people close to the president believe he needs heading into his reelection in 2020. Kelly had not previously served in a political role, having served roughly four decades in the Marine Corps before entering the Trump administration.
But Ayers is a controversial figure in Trump's orbit and some of the president's aides have resisted his hiring.