Over the past few days, the mainstream media has been spreading rumors that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is struggling in his position and that his relationship with President Donald Trump is “irreparable.” On Thursday, however, Kelly made a surprise appearance at the White House press briefing to slam these reports and shut the rumors down.
“I’m not quitting today. I don’t think I’m being fired today. I am not so frustrated in this job that I am thinking of leaving,” Kelly told reporters, according to Fox News. He added that he is “not frustrated. I will tell you this is the hardest job I’ve ever had.”
“Unless things change, I’m not quitting. I’m not getting fired and I don’t think I’ll fire anyone tomorrow,” Kelly added.
This appearance was unprecedented, as such special appearances at the White House briefings typically involve Cabinet secretaries or White House officials discussing a specific policy or emergency response effort. Kelly went on to say that he decided not to do “too much press” until he got his “feet off the ground.”
As he took questions from the press, Kelly repeatedly took issue with media reports on the internal tensions in the administration, even as he joked and sparred with the White House press corps.
“My only frustration, with all respect to people in the room, is to come to work and read about things I allegedly said or Mr. Trump allegedly said and it’s just not true,” Kelly said. “And I mean no disrespect to you all.”
Kelly also discussed reports that he is having trouble “controlling” the president, saying he was “not brought to this job to control” Trump’s tweets.
“I was not brought to this job to control anything but the flow of information to our president,” Kelly said, adding that he thinks Trump is a “decisive guy” and a “very thoughtful man.”
“I restrict no one from going to see him,” Kelly said. “I was not sent in or brought in to control him and you should not measure my effectiveness as chief of staff on what you think I should be doing.”
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