John Kelly appointment: Trump replaces chief of staff Priebus


US President Donald Trump has named General John Kelly, who currently heads the Department of Homeland Security, as his next chief of staff.

The announcement, made on Twitter on Friday afternoon, removes Reince Priebus from the role.

The embattled former chief of staff had faced pressure since being named as a possible leaker by Mr Trump’s newly appointed director of communication.  

Mr Priebus reportedly resigned on Thursday.

Reacting after the announcement, he said it had been an honour to serve President Trump and he would remain a strong supporter of his 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,” Mr Priebus added.

Anthony Scaramucci, who was appointed communications director one week ago, had accused Mr Priebus – a Republican Party stalwart – of leaking to the press in a tweet that he quickly deleted.

He also phoned a reporter to unleash a profanity-filled rant against Mr Priebus, whom he called a “paranoid schizophrenic”.

Gen Kelly is a retired general who has become the face of border security.

In a series of tweets just before 17:00 (22:00 GMT) on Friday, the president praised the former Marine Corp general as a “great American” and a “great leader”.

“John has done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my administration,” said the president.

He will start work on Monday, a White House spokesperson says.

Glittering career of John Kelly

General John KellyImage copyrightAFP
  • the former four-star general had a military career spanning four decades
  • he is the highest-ranking military officer to lose a child in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • son Robert, a first lieutenant in the Marines, was killed in combat when he stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan in 2010
  • at Homeland Security, was responsible for border, immigration, cyber hacking, airport security and natural disaster management

In a third tweet, President Trump praised the outgoing chief of staff, who had previously worked as the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

“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,” he said.

In his previous role as RNC chairman, he acted as a bridge between the Republican nominee and a party establishment that was often uncomfortable with its own presidential standard-bearer.


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