Politics

Trump Asked Kelly to Stay Through 2020, and He Said Yes

Despite rampant media speculation to the contrary, Wall Street Journal claims the president's chief of staff agreed to stick around for several more years

President Donald Trump reportedly asked White House chief of staff John Kelly to remain in his post at least through 2020 — despite frequent media speculation that Kelly will be gone from the White House shortly, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“How many wrong stories have there been saying he’s heading for the door?” former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer tweeted Tuesday. “Personnel stories are among the worst. An aide(s) is given anonymity and the parlor game begins. Maybe it’s true. Maybe it’s not. Readers have no idea what the facts are, but journalists speculate freely.

“In most cases, the American people have never heard of the WH aide being speculated about. This is the ultimate insider Washington parlor game that, as important as aides can be, is meaningless to most people,” Fleischer added.

Kelly told White House staffers during a meeting Monday that he had accepted Trump’s request “to remain in his post through the 2020 election,” according to the Journal, citing anonymous “White House officials.”

Do you think President Biden should be impeached for the crisis in Afghanistan and loss of American lives?

By completing the poll, you agree to receive emails from LifeZette, occasional offers from our partners and that you've read and agree to our privacy policy and legal statement.

The Journal added that “a White House official cautioned that while the plan is for Gen. Kelly to remain in his post through 2020, unforeseen circumstances could cause the plan to change.”

Kelly just celebrated his one-year anniversary as Trump’s second chief of staff Monday. The president took to Twitter to share a picture of the two and thank Kelly, who previously served as the Department of Homeland Security secretary under Trump, for his service.

“Congratulations to General John Kelly. Today we celebrate his first full year as @WhiteHouse Chief of Staff!” Trump tweeted.

If Kelly does remain in the White House until 2020, he would become one of the nation’s longest-serving chiefs of staff. John Steelman is the longest-serving White House chief of staff, having been in the job for six years under former President Harry S. Truman.

Andy Card became the second-longest serving chief of staff after his five-year tenure in the White House working for President George W. Bush.

The average tenure of a White House chief of staff is only 18 months, according to Chris Whipple, author of “The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency.” Kelly’s predecessor, Reince Priebus, served in the Trump administration for only six months.

But rumors surrounding Kelly’s departure from the White House stoked intense media speculation in the months prior to Tuesday’s report and amid numerous Trump administration staffing shakeups.

The Washington Post reported in April that Kelly’s “credibility and his influence have been severely diminished,” citing anonymous administration officials. Kelly, The Post said, “has lost the trust and support of some of the staff” and “no one knows how many days remain for Kelly.”

Kelly fielded particularly intense speculation in the weeks and months following former staff secretary Rob Porter’s February resignation, for his handling of the scandal when Porter was accused of domestic assault.

One of the most common threads running through stories speculating on Kelly’s tenure included the idea that Kelly would exit the White House this summer.

Related: Chief of Staff John Kelly Retains Trump’s ‘Confidence,’ Peter Navarro Says

One of the WSJ report’s authors, Byron Tau, even noted on Twitter, “NEW: President Trump has asked John Kelly to stay in his post through 2020, amid rampant speculation about who might replace him and whether his power in the West Wing is waning.”

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins tweeted,”Confirmed that John Kelly announced at a senior staff meeting yesterday that Trump asked him to stay on as chief of staff until at least 2020. Keep in mind that in the two weeks leading up to Trump’s disruptive Europe trip, senior aides were telling me he had days or hours left..”

Fox News host and media commentator Howard Kurtz mocked mainstream media members, tweeting, “Now every pundit who predicted John Kelly’s political demise gets to explain why President Trump wants him to stay on.”

But The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway remained skeptical over Tuesday’s news, tweeting, “I believe anonymously sourced stories about John Kelly staying on through 2020 about as much as I believed the deluge of anonymously sourced stories telling me he was on his way out at any minute, but definitely no later than this summer.”

Join the Discussion

COMMENTS POLICY: We have no tolerance for messages of violence, racism, vulgarity, obscenity or other such discourteous behavior. Thank you for contributing to a respectful and useful online dialogue.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments