News World Donald Trump names John Kelly as White House chief of staff, replacing Reince Priebus

Donald Trump names John Kelly as White House chief of staff, replacing Reince Priebus

Trump and Kelly
Donald Trump says John Kelly will do a "fantastic job" as White House chief of staff. Photo: AAP
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US President Donald Trump has announced in a tweet that he has named Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly as White House chief of staff, replacing Reince Priebus in a major shakeup of his top team.

The move came a day after his new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci,accused Mr Priebus of leaking information to reporters in a profanity-laced tirade.

Mr Trump made the announcement on Twitter, saying Mr Kelly was “a great American and a great leader”.

In a brief statement to reporters on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, Mr Trump said Mr Kelly would “do a fantastic job” as chief of staff.

“General Kelly has been a star, done an incredible job thus far. Respected by everybody. A great, great American,” he said.

Mr Trump thanked Mr Priebus for his service, saying he was “a good man”.

Mr Priebus arrived at the White House as a key player in the Tea Party movement, and was the first chairman of the Republican party to win three consecutive terms.

In the year before Mr Trump’s nomination to the presidential ticket, he had also been a critic of the then-candidate’s rhetoric about Muslims and immigration.

By all appearances, Mr Trump and Mr Priebus had mended their relationship by the time of the election, and Mr Priebus became chief of staff in the White House.

Conflict boils over with Scaramucci’s appointment

But there were rumblings Mr Trump had structured the White House in a way that seemed to undermine Mr Priebus’ authority from day one.

Several administration positions that were usually managed by the chief of staff now reported directly to Mr Trump.

Mr Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon also served as “equal partners” under the President, but speaking at a conservative gathering the pair denied there was ongoing tension between the them.

Behind the scenes conflicts at the White House boiled over with the selection of Mr Scaramucci as communications director.

His selection, opposed by Mr Priebus, was followed immediately by the resignation of press secretary Sean Spicer.

Several days later, Mr Scaramucci tweeted that someone had illegally leaked financial information about him, conspicuously mentioning Mr Priebus’s twitter handle.

Mr Scaramucci later deleted that tweet and said he had only mentioned Mr Priebus to show that all senior leaders were taking the leak crackdown seriously.

— with agencies