Trump Considering Ousting John Kelly

President Trump is reportedly considering replacing his chief of staff. Again.

President Trump is reportedly considering replacing his chief of staff. Again.

President Donald Trump, furious over the handling of domestic abuse allegations involving one of his closest aides, has spoken to confidantes about the possibility of replacing embattled Chief of Staff John Kelly, sources close to the president tell ABC News.

One confidante — longtime friend and former executive chairman of his inaugural committee, Tom Barrack — was approached to gauge his interest in the chief of staff position, a source familiar with the matter told ABC News. Barrack said he won’t take the job, the source said.

Kelly has made clear to the president in the last 24 hours that he’s willing to resign in light of the president’s dissatisfaction over the West Wing’s handling of the allegations against former Staff Secretary Rob Porter, according to sources who have spoken with Trump and Kelly.

While Kelly’s fate is in question, sources familiar with the matter said they did not believe his departure is imminent. Kelly was seen working in the West Wing on Friday, leading his daily senior staff meeting and joining Trump in the Oval Office during an afternoon photo op.

“General Kelly has not offered his resignation to the President,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. When asked if Kelly has expressed interest in offering his resignation, Gidley said “Not to my knowledge, no.”

Several Trump confidantes reached by ABC News said the president is considering multiple names as possible Kelly replacements, among those, top economic adviser Gary Cohn, Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney and Rep. Mark Meadows.

Kelly, whose appointment as chief of staff was initially seen as an step towards restoring order and discipline, has been the subject of growing controversy over the past several weeks.

Kelly faced criticism earlier this week over comments labeling undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children as “lazy,” and received a public rebuke from President Trump after saying in an interview last month with Fox News that the president’s campaign promises regarding a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border were “uninformed.”

Kelly was an upgrade over Trump’s first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, in that he’s a much more seasoned manager and that his views are much more aligned with those of the President. The latter, alas, is also part of the problem: he shares his boss’ retrograde views on immigration and women. While that plays well with the base, it amplifies the President’s problems with the press.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mark Ivey says:

    “This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine. I turn on the TV, open the newspapers, and I see stories of chaos. Chaos. Yet it is the exact opposite.” -President Trump, Feb 2017

  2. CSK says:

    I’m surprised Trump hasn’t offered Kelly’s job to Sean Hannity.

  3. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @CSK: I’m not sure that Hannity can absorb the cut in pay; and he certainly is too young to survive the fallout from being fired 6-9 months later when the next shirt storm hits.

  4. Kathy says:

    IMO, jobs in this administration ought to come with an expiration date.

  5. Mr. Prosser says:

    @CSK: Mick Mulvaney, a discount Hannity.