White House Chief of Staff John Kelly may leave after clashes with Melania Trump

Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff is reportedly being considered to replace Mr Kelly, among other potential candidates

Clark Mindock
New York
Wednesday 14 November 2018 19:19
Mr Kelly is reportedly on the chopping block in the White House
Mr Kelly is reportedly on the chopping block in the White House

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly may soon leave his post after clashing with first lady Melania Trump, according to multiple reports.

The potential resignation or firing comes after reports earlier this year that Ms Trump had complained to her husband, President Donald Trump, that Mr Kelly had repeatedly declined requests to promote some of her aides while Mr Kelly's staff had received promotions. The president reportedly told Mr Kelly to honour his wife's request after learning about the personnel disputes.

The news that Mr Kelly may soon be leaving the White House comes during a time of apparent upheaval in the West Wing following the 2018 midterm election results. Just a day after those ballots were case, Mr Trump's former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, resigned from his post. On Tuesday, Ms Trump's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham made a stunningly public call for the removal of deputy national security advisor Mira Ricardel, who is a key ally in the White House for national security advisor John Bolton.

It was unclear if that public call for Ms Ricardel's ouster had been heeded by the White House and Mr Trump, and conflicting news reports emerged soon after indicating that she had been escorted off of the White House grounds — while other reports indicated those dispatches were not true.

In addition to Mr Kelly and Ms Ricardel, other top officials in the Trump administration are reportedly on the chopping block as well.

That includes Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, who has overseen some of the administration's most contentious policies on immigration detention at the border and elsewhere.

"The Secretary is honoured to lead the men and woen of DHS and is committed to implementing the President's security-focused agenda to protect Americans from all threats and will continue to do so," Tyler Houlton, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement to CNBC on Tusday.

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Ms Neilsen has served at the department since Mr Kelly was moved to his post as chief of staff. She had worked under Mr Kelly at DHS prior to that promotion.

Mr Trump has publicly praised Ms Nielsen previously, saying over the summer that she "did a fabulous job" during a press conference in June when she explained "security at the border and for our country".

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