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Chief of Staff John Kelly expected to leave by end of year

Ava Simunovic '20

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White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is expected to resign from his job later this year, according to President Donald Trump in an interview on Saturday Dec. 9.

John Kelly will be leaving — I don’t know if I can say ‘retiring,” Trump told reporters before heading off to the Army vs. Navy football game. “But he’s a great guy. John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year.”

The incoming Chief of Staff will be the third person to hold the position in the White House in less than two years.

According to a White House official, Trump will reveal who the next Chief of Staff will be on Monday Dec. 10. Trump is actively searching for Kelly’s replacement. Potential replacements include Nick Ayers: Vice President Pence’s top aide and longtime Republican political operative.

Corey Lewandowski, an informal adviser to Trump, comments on why he believes Trump had decided to execute these new reforms within his office.

“Every president at natural inflection points makes significant changes in their administration,” Lewandowski said according to The New York Times. “The president relied on information and people he didn’t know to staff the administration. Now, he’s gone back to people he knows. They’re on his team, and that’s what is needed.”

But for others Kelly’s resignation prompts concern. Isabel Handa ’19 expresses her skepticism over this turnover.

“The sudden resignation of John Kelly is just another factor that has raised concerns in Republicans eyes after the midterm elections,” Handa said. “The animosity and discombobulation in the White House leaves the future uncertain in many aspects.”

Kelly’s sudden departure contributes to a common trend of positional movement at the highest levels of the White House. An analysis by the Brookings Institution in October 2018, showed that turnover amongst the senior staff stood at 83 percent – higher than any of the five presidents prior to Trump taking office.

Carter Teplica ’19 recognizes the that having a Chief of Staff for a short amount of time isn’t uncommon in the White House, however he finds Trump’s execution in office to be the fundamental reason for the turnover.

“Chief of Staff’s tennear historically are really short because it is a really difficult job, you have a lot of things to maintain and I can imagine that would be particularly impossible in the Trump White House,” Teplica said.

Kelly’s resignation highlights Trump’s endeavor to shake-up his office before re-election. As he and his team gear up for the 2020 campaign Trump has looked to shift things around in order to be more proactive and productive in the remaining two years of his term.

Chris Whipple, author of “The Gatekeepers,” a book about the White House Chiefs of Staff, adds his view on why there have been numerous Chiefs of Staffs during Trump’s term.

“It’s almost mission impossible unless and until Trump figures out that he needs to have a White House chief of staff who can tell him what he does not want to hear,” Whipple said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “And there’s no evidence so far that Trump wants that kind of person in the job.”

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Chief of Staff John Kelly expected to leave by end of year