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Donald Trump’s presidency is only a few months old, but his administration has been roiled by personnel issues.
The most recent point of contention appears to be the simmering rivalry between the chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and the new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, that has burst into the open this week and raised questions about Priebus’ tenure.
Now Trump has reportedly injected uncertainty into an already fraught situation.
The New York Times reported late Thursday that Trump had told people he had lost faith in Priebus.
Trump wants to replace Priebus with “a general” and has his eye on John Kelly, the retired four-star Marine who’s currently the secretary of homeland security, but many of Trump’s advisers think that’s a bad idea, according to The Times.
Kelly, who retired from the Marine Corps in 2016 after a 45-year career and with the distinction of being the military’s longest-serving general, was heralded when Trump nominated him earlier this year.
Kelly’s previous assignments and comments during the confirmation process suggested to many that he would not hesitate to, in his words, “speak truth to power” and would perhaps moderate some of Trump’s positions.
Many have greeted his first months with dismay, however.
Kelly, who oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol, has been a target of criticism for the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies. Kelly’s suggestion that the US could separate women and children who crossed the border illegally, as well his promoting Trump’s border-wall proposal, have also attracted ire on both sides of the border.
But Kelly’s reassignment to the White House remains hypothetical. The president has flirted with several personnel changes but made few.
Update: On Friday evening, Trump tweeted that Kelly had been appointed chief of staff, calling the retired general “a Great American” and “a Great Leader” and thanking Priebus “for his service and dedication to his country.”