John Kelly to Leave White House by End of Year

President says he will announce a replacement for the chief of staff position in a day or two

Last Updated: December 8, 2018 @ 11:31 AM

John Kelly will be stepping down as White House chief of staff by the end of the year, President Donald Trump said on Saturday.

“John Kelly will be leaving — I don’t know if I can say ‘retiring.’ But, he’s a great guy,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House.

The president added that he would announce a replacement “over the next day or two.”

The leading candidate to replace Kelly is Nick Ayers, who currently serves as Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff.

Kelly leaves behind a tight ship, just as the new Congress is about to be sworn in and power in the House shifts into the hands of Democrats.

Kelly, a retired Marine general who was tapped last year to bring order to the White House, is the latest in a long string of high-profile departures that have plagued the Trump administration. He was brought on six months into Trump’s presidency, at first, and seemed to bring his military-style discipline to a chaotic West Wing.

But Kelly was met with resistance by the president, who is averse to being “managed.”

One of the first things Kelly did was clean house, getting rid several staff members, including White House top advisor Steve Bannon and director of African-American outreach, Omarosa Manigault Newman.