Kelly: Bar­ring ‘change,’ he’s not quit­ting or be­ing fired

San Francisco Chronicle - - NATION - By Lau­rie Kell­man Lau­rie Kell­man is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

WASH­ING­TON — White House Chief of Staff John Kelly in­sisted Thurs­day he’s not quit­ting or be­ing fired — for now.

“Un­less things change, I’m not quit­ting, I’m not get­ting fired and I don’t think I’ll fire any­one to­mor­row,” the re­tired Marine Corps gen­eral and for­mer sec­re­tary of home­land se­cu­rity told re­porters at the daily White House briefing as re­ports swirled that he’s frus­trated as the provoca­tive pres­i­dent’s top aide.

“I don’t think I’m be­ing fired to­day, and I’m not so frus­trated in this job that I’m think­ing of leav­ing,” he said.

The ex­tra­or­di­nary state­ment drew a bit of laugh­ter, but it re­flected se­ri­ous tur­moil in the top ranks of the White House that has per­sisted since the Don­ald Trump was in­au­gu­rated as the na­tion’s 45th pres­i­dent.

As the pres­i­dent churned out tweets that have been fac­tu­ally in­ac­cu­rate and started or con­tin­ued feuds, many of his orig­i­nal top aides have left or been fired. Gone is Kelly’s pre­de­ces­sor, Reince Priebus; press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer, and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Michael Flynn, to name a few.

Re­ports have emerged that Kelly is un­happy in the job as Trump’s leg­isla­tive agenda stalls, as Trump picks fights with NFL play­ers who kneel dur­ing the na­tional an­them and as Trump blames Puerto Rico for its on­go­ing mis­ery af­ter Hur­ri­cane Maria. Trump, how­ever, told re­porters on Satur­day that Kelly “loves it more than any­thing he’s ever done.”

Kelly’s ex­tra­or­di­nary state­ments are the lat­est ex­am­ples of Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials pub­licly pro­fess­ing their loy­alty to Trump, re­fut­ing re­ports that sug­gest problems in the chaotic ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Last week, Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son pub­licly re­it­er­ated his sup­port for Trump af­ter re­ports that he had called the pres­i­dent a “mo­ron.”

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