Trump replaces chief of staff Priebus with retired General Kelly

Jerome Frank
July 31, 2017

That's a highly unusual arrangement for a communications director and a possible reflection that Priebus' standing with Trump is often uncertain.

But Congressman Peter King, who accompanied Trump aboard the Air Force One to NY and back, told reporters that he saw no indication of Priebus' exit during the flight. "I think it's time to hit the reset button", Priebus said in a televised interview from the White House.

His exit appeared inevitable when Trump did not intervene as his new communications director Anthony Scaramucci publicly described Priebus as a "paranoid schizophrenic" in a foul-mouthed tirade that also saw him savage another top Trump aide.

Gen Kelly is a retired general who has become the face of border security. Scaramucci later deleted that tweet and said he had only mentioned Priebus to show that all senior leaders are taking the leak crackdown seriously.

Kelly wrote in a statement, "I have been fortunate to have served my country for more than 45 years - first as a Marine and then as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security". Priebus said he would continue to support Trump, adding that he would "continue to serve as a strong supporter of the President's agenda and policies". For example, as a spat between Bannon and Kushner spilled out into the open in April, Priebus worked to arrange a d├ętente at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, according to a senior White House official familiar with the internal strife.

He has been serving as the secretary of homeland security. "I thank him for his service and wish him the best of luck going forward". Priebus took the return flight to Washington, his fate sealed in the tweets that were sent by the president just as he stepped off the plane.

All but seven chiefs of staff have lasted at least one year in the job.

Priebus was just the latest former RNC official to leave the administration, following the departure of White House press secretary Sean Spicer - who resigned in protest over Scaramucci's hire - and the ouster of deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh, a key Priebus ally who exited the administration after just two months on the job.

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Priebus has grown increasingly isolated in the White House, as past Republican National Committee colleagues and other allies have left or been pushed out of the West Wing. Now he's cutting the party loose.

John Kelly may need to find and strap on some armor. His selection is yet another example of Mr Trump's preference for military brass in positions of authority.

"The selection of Secretary Kelly as the new Chief of Staff will bring unparalleled leadership skills to the job". Leading an army into battle may seem easy by comparison.

Priebus, who was brought on by the outsider President in large part because of his Washington relationships, also wound up carrying a hefty share of the blame for the White House's legislative stumbles.

"I think that the political environment is more complicated and more challenging than it is in strictly a command role", Gates said.

"I'm doing great", Priebus said.

"He has achieved so much, and he has done it all with class", Ryan said. "I could not be more proud to call Reince a dear friend", he said.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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