Reince Priebus Out, John Kelly In as Trump's Chief of Staff


Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus / Getty Images
July 28, 2017

President Donald Trump changed his White House chief of staff on Friday, replacing embattled Reince Priebus with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

Priebus left the White House in the latest of a series of high profile resignations or departures, as Trump had judged him "not strong enough" to continue to hold the role, the New York Times reports.

Trump tweeted out the announcement of Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, as Priebus' replacement on Friday afternoon.

"I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff. He is a Great American and a Great Leader. John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration," Trump wrote.

He added in another tweet that he was "proud" of Priebus and thanked him for his service.

According to Wall Street Journal White House reporter Michael C. Bender, Priebus in fact privately resigned on Thursday.

Trump told reporters Priebus was a "good man" and that Kelly is "respected by everybody" and a "star."

Priebus' departure followed that of close ally Sean Spicer, who resigned as White House press secretary a week earlier. Spicer resigned largely over the appointment of Wall Street businessman Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director; there were reports of conflicts between Scaramucci and Priebus leading up to Priebus leaving the White House.

That conflict piqued on Thursday, when Scaramucci delivered a profanity-laced rant to the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza, telling him that Priebus, who he described as "a fucking paranoid schizophrenic," would be asked to resign soon after.

Scaramucci was convinced that Priebus was behind a series of high-profile leaks affecting him and Trump.

It is not clear if Priebus, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, will remain in the administration. Kelly, meanwhile, will preserve the high profile that generals have played in the Trump administration.

Elaine Duke, the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, will serve as acting Secretary of Homeland Security following Kelly's change of role.

UPDATE 5:23 P.M.: This story was updated to reflect Priebus's statement that he resigned Thursday. 

UPDATE 5:30 P.M.: This story was updated to reflect information about Deputy DHS Secretary Elaine Duke.

UPDATE: 5:39 P.M. This story was updated with Trump's remarks to reporters.