After weeks of speculation about John Kelly’s future at the White House, President Trump confirmed on Saturday that his chief of staff will leave by the end of the year.
Trump did not give any names, but said Kelly won't return to his post in 2019, according to Bloomberg News. Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Nick Ayers has reportedly been floated as a possible replacement.
"He's a great guy," he told reporters, as he departed the White House for Philadelphia where he will attend the Army-Navy college football game. "I appreciate his service very much. We will be announcing who will take John's place. It might be on an interim basis."
In November, it was first reported that Kelly may leave due to repeated clashes with first lady Melania Trump. According to NBC News, Kelly denied requests to promote some of her aides, even as he promoted West Wing officials working for him.
Trump hired Kelly, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, 17 months ago to restore order to the White House. But the 68-year-old Kelly has increasingly found himself at odds with Trump's somewhat-unorthodox leadership style. Kelly previously served as the Department of Homeland Security secretary before he succeeded Reince Priebus as chief of staff.
The president previously said Kelly would stay through 2020 to assist in his re-election bid, but his possible resignation has been rumored for months amid signs of increased tensions.
The White House has seen a historically fast turnover rate in multiple high-profile jobs. This week alone Trump announced that William Barr would be the new attorney general, and Heather Nauert the new U.N. ambassador.