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Trump May Have Found a Way to Get Rid of John Kelly

Media outlets report it's believed he'd exit the administration if Kirstjen Nielsen is fired
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2018 2:21 PM CST
President Trump listens to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly in this photo from Oct. 10, 2018.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – Jeff Sessions is out, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen may be next, and Chief of Staff John Kelly could round out the trio, at least according to a growing number of media outlets. NBC News cites "seven people familiar with the discussions" who say Kelly may soon exit the Trump administration, with the apparent catalyst being an increase in disagreements: with national security adviser John Bolton; with his deputy, Mira Ricardel; and with Melania Trump, apparently related to her staff and travel. NBC's sources say some of the issues between Kelly and the first lady have ended up in the Oval Office, and it cites one alleged instance of that, in which Kelly repeatedly denied Melania's requests to promote some of her staffers while those who worked for Kelly did secure such promotions.

A source has Trump's alleged response: "I don't need this s---," along with the direction that Kelly give his wife what she requested. As for who would fill his shoes, one name floated by some of NBC's sources is Nick Ayers, chief of staff to Mike Pence. The Wall Street Journal also floats Ayers' name, and lays out a potential series of events: That Kelly would quit in the event Nielsen, whom he is close with, is pushed out. How the New York Times similarly frames it: "Removing Ms. Nielsen is also seen as a way for Mr. Trump to push out [Kelly] without directly firing him." It notes that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are on board with the idea of Ayers as Kelly's replacement. (The Secret Service reportedly had to break up a fight Kelly was involved in.)

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