White House chief of staff John Kelly says he’s not frustrated, quitting or being fired by Trump
Former Marine general John Kelly conducts White House press briefing
President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, surprised reporters on Thursday when he conducted the White House’s daily news briefing himself and joked that he is not planning to quit and does not expect to be fired.
“I am not so frustrated in this job that I’m thinking of leaving,” he said to open his briefing, an apparent nod at occasional reports he has considered quitting. “Unless things change, I’m not quitting, I’m not getting fired, and I don’t think I’ll fire anyone tomorrow.”
The first reporter he called on asked whether he’s frustrated, as he suggested.
“No, I’m not frustrated,” he said. “This is really, really hard work, running the United States of America. I don’t run it. But I’m working for someone who’s dedicated to serving the country in the way he’s talked about for a number of years.”
He also brushed aside media coverage suggesting he has maintained firmer control of the White House staff than his predecessor. “Is this the iron hand that I brought to the staff?” the former Marine general mused from the podium. “I just brought some organisation to it.”
He called the president “Mr Trump” at least twice – a departure from the White House custom in which staff members usually publicly refer to the office-holder as “The President”- and said previous presidents had left a number of problems for the White House to resolve.
“I don’t mean any criticism of Mr Trump’s predecessors,” he said. “But there are an awful lot of things that in my view have been kicked down the road.”
He went on to take additional questions from reporters, addressing those he did not know as “you.”