- The White House chief of staff, John Kelly, is reportedly expected to leave his job in the next few days.
- Sources told CNN that he planned to resign as his relationship with President Donald had become untenable and the two had stopped speaking.
- Sources also told the news website Axios that West Wing officials widely expected Kelly to depart soon.
- Trump has been said to have tried to fire Kelly before, though Trump said in October that Kelly was “doing a very good job.”
- Kelly previously agreed to stay in the role until 2020.
White House staff members reportedly believe that the chief of staff John Kelly plans to resign in the next few days, his feud with President Donald Trump apparently becoming so bad that the two are not on speaking terms.
Two sources familiar with the situation in the West Wing told CNN in a report published Friday that Kelly and Trump viewed their relationship as untenable and that the two recently stopped speaking.
Trump is actively discussing a replacement plan, CNN reported, though a source said nothing had been finalized.
The news was first reported by the news website Axios, which said West Wing officials widely believed that Kelly would leave soon and that Nick Ayers, the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, would replace him.
CNN also reported that Ayers was a candidate to replace Kelly. Reports that Trump wanted to replace Kelly with Ayers have dated back to 2017.
Speculation has long swirled over Kelly’s future in the role amid multiple reports of repeated clashes between him and Trump.
In November, it was reported that Kelly may leave his position soon over repeated clashes with the first lady Melania Trump. NBC News reported that Kelly refused to promote some of her aides, prompting Trump to tell his chief of staff to give the first lady what she wanted.
- Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
A spokeswoman for the first lady then told INSIDER that Kelly and Melania Trump had “a very positive relationship.”
Trump has reportedly tried to fire Kelly before but failed because he usually asks Kelly to fire people for him.
Trump has dismissed past reports indicating an intent to fire Kelly, saying in October that Kelly was “doing a very good job.”
“We have a very good relationship. The White House is running very, very smoothly,” he told the New York magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi.
Kelly told staffers in July that he would stay on until 2020 at Trump’s request, despite widespread expectation that he would leave the role after the one-year mark.
After replacing Reince Priebus as chief of staff, Kelly emerged as a buffer between Trump and his impulsive nature, but he later appeared to ease up in trying, Politico reported in June.
A retired four-star Marine general who served as secretary of homeland security during the first months of 2017, Kelly took over from Priebus in July 2017.