President Donald Trump and White House chief of staff John Kelly have settled on a truce, at least temporarily, as the latest round of staff tumult continues to ripple through the West Wing, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Jarred by the treatment of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whom the president fired by tweet on Tuesday morning, Mr. Kelly suggested to colleagues that he may be the next to be pushed out of the White House. Mr. Kelly’s cryptic comments left several White House staffers with the impression that Mr. Kelly would force the issue with the president, and that they should start looking for new jobs, too.
The internal drama heightened when Mr. Kelly flew with the president to California on Tuesday, but returned alone and was working in his West Wing office on Wednesday morning. Mr. Kelly’s allies in the White House, however, said the chief of staff had always planned on flying the 4,500-mile round-trip between Washington and San Diego in less than a day.
But on Thursday, Messrs. Trump and Kelly had a productive meeting that left both men reassured. Mr. Trump told advisers afterward that Mr. Kelly was “100% safe.” Mr. Kelly told his associates that, at least for the moment, he and the president had patched things up. “I’m in,” Mr. Kelly told staff.
Asked about Mr. Kelly’s comments earlier in the week, and the meeting between the president and his staff chief on Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a five-word statement: “Kelly is not going anywhere.”
SOURCE: Michael C. Bender
The Wall Street Journal