As the short-lived White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci exited stage left, Gen. John Kelly was sworn in to serve as the new White House chief of staff in a closed ceremony that was not viewable by the press.
“We look forward to, if it is possible, even a better job as chief of staff,” Trump said, praising both the outgoing chief of staff, former Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, and Kelly, who formerly served as Trump’s secretary of homeland security.
“We have a tremendous base, we have a tremendous group of support, the country is optimistic and I think the general will just add to it,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, pointing to metrics like falling unemployment numbers to emphasize the economy’s strength. “The country is doing very well. Strongest stock market ever.”
Kelly has earned a reputation across his four decades of public service as a fastidious, disciplined leader who is expected to stay the course of an administration that has been plagued by leaks and constant media scrutiny.
He previously served as the commander of the United States Southern Command for four years under former President Barack Obama and served as a commanding general in Iraq from 2008 to 2009. During his brief tenure as secretary of homeland security, Kelly remained a staunch advocate of Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall and indicated that it would be completed within two years.
“I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff,” Trump tweeted Monday. “He is a Great American… and a Great Leader. John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration.”
Kelly’s first order of business will be to clean up the mess left by Scaramucci, who last all of ten days before getting fired in the aftermath of a profanity-laced conversation with a journalist. Sources close to the administration have indicated that Trump’s staffers are eager to get behind Kelly and reconfigure a proper chain of command in the White House, one that was allegedly weakened by Scaramucci.