After reports surfaced that White House chief of staff John Kelly was expected to leave his post this summer, a new report says otherwise.
John Kelly reportedly told White House staff that President Trump has asked him to remain in his position through 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported.
According to an anonymous White House official, Kelly said he agreed to President Trump’s request.
As of this week, Kelly has served as chief of staff for one year. If he remains in his role through 2020, he will be one of the longest-serving chiefs of staff.
WSJ scoop: John Kelly, who on Monday marked his one-year anniversary as chief of staff, had been widely expected to leave the White House some time this summer. Now he plans to stay through the 2020 election. https://t.co/PcF8YwOD2F by @rebeccaballhaus @ByronTau @PeterWSJ
— Tim Hanrahan (@TimJHanrahan) July 31, 2018
Kelly was expected to leave this summer as reports revealed that the president was seeking recommendations from his advisers about who would replace Kelly as chief of staff.
Tensions between Kelly and the president have been reported since early this year. An NBC News report from April said that Kelly remarked to his staff on numerous occasions that President Trump was “an idiot.”
However, Kelly denied the allegations, calling them “total BS.” Several White House officials also denied the report’s claims.
“I spend more time with the president than anyone else and we have an incredibly candid and strong relationship,” Kelly said in a statement.
“He always knows where I stand and he and I both know this story is total BS. I am committed to the president, his agenda, and our country. This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration’s many successes.”
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow was another official who rejected the NBC report. “You seriously think that a four-star Marine general is going to call the president names? Are you kidding?” he asked, adding, “It’s utter fantasy and the fact that people are writing about it is even worse.”
“Things run smoothly. They run on time. He’s an easy fellow to work with. He gives you good advice,” Kudlow said. “These folks who are criticizing him are just doing everybody a great disservice. And they’re besmirching Kelly and they’re besmirching Trump and they are besmirching the country.”
Some speculated that Kelly would be removed from his role and instead would be nominated for Department of Veterans Affairs secretary. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders rejected the rumors, however.
“He is not being considered as the V.A. Secretary,” Sanders said, according to NPR. “Both the president and the chief of staff are very happy with his position that he currently holds, which is chief of staff to the president at the White House.”
Kelly was said to have been disengaged from his position amid tensions with the president, and some reports going so far as to describe the two as “barely tolerating” one another.
However, President Trump hasn’t hesitated to remove past members of his cabinet after publicly challenging him or following rumors of discourse within the White House. That Kelly remains in his position may be an indication that tensions aren’t as high as reports claim.
In January, Kelly told reporters: “I’m in for the long haul.”