President Trump names new chief of staff, ousting Reince Priebus

Posted July 31, 2017

President Trump's Friday Twitter announcement that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly will replace Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff left one major question unanswered: Who is in charge at DHS?

"He is a Great American and a Great Leader", Trump said.

Trump has picked Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly as his new chief of staff. "He has been a true star of my Administration".

Priebus' already tense relationship with Scaramucci took a darker turn over the past two days when the communications chief suggested in a late-night tweet that Priebus was one of the "leakers" that Trump has railed against.

Trump's naming of former investment fund manager Anthony Scaramucci triggered the resignation of former Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who left his post nearly immediately after Scaramucci was named as Trump's new communications director.

Consider the nonsense that Trump tweeted about Priebus on Friday (Saturday NZ Time) - "I would like to thank Reince Priebus for his service and dedication to his country. We accomplished a lot together and I am proud of him!"

This is a developing story, check back for updates. Also attending was Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist. For example, as a spat between Bannon and Kushner spilled out into the open in April, Priebus worked to arrange a détente at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, according to a senior White House official familiar with the internal strife.

Yet Priebus's dismissal capped a tumultuous six months marked by staff turmoil and political reversals that Trump often blamed on his chief of staff. Kelly, who has demonstrated strong leadership at the Department of Homeland Security, had become a favorite of Trump's.

Priebus also said his views on Trump haven't changed, adding he's still a fan of the President.

"John Kelly is one of our great stars", Trump declared.

Priebus said only that the president "wanted to go in a different direction".

Priebus, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, lost his job just hours after the president's signature drive to repeal his predecessor's health care program collapsed on the Senate floor and a day after an ugly feud with the new communications director erupted in a public airing of the deep animosities plaguing the White House.

Priebus later went on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, claiming he had resigned from the post.

Speaking earlier in New York, Trump offered effusive praise for Kelly, though he didn't hint he would soon be working from the West Wing. That followed tweets and an interview in which Scaramucci appeared to link Priebus to leaks from the White House.

Congressman Peter King who accompanied Trump aboard Air Force One to NY and back, told reporters that during the flight, he saw no indication of Priebus' exit.

The Obama White House didn't always appreciate it.

You've heard the old saw - don't do more than one of changing house, job or partner at the same time. "We were sitting right across from him and he kept a poker face", King said, referring to Priebus.