WASHINGTON, D.C. — White House Chief of Staff John Kelly made a rare appearance in the press during Thursday afternoon’s press briefing, declaring that he’s not quitting, not getting fired, and not likely to fire anyone tomorrow.
Kelly added that serving as chief of staff is the “hardest job” he’s ever done.
He told reporters that he avoided the media on purpose during his first days in the White House, while he got his “feet on the ground and figure out what base I was on any given day.”
Kelly talked about his time at DHS and as an officer in the U.S. Marines, interacting often with the press in those capacities. He said in this job he had to “get to know the lay of the land.” He recalled having three off-the-record press events since taking the position. He also pointed out that someone in the press did violate one of those press events, but he didn’t specifically name the outlet.
He went on to say with a bit of a joking tone, “Although I read it all the time, pretty consistently, I’m not quitting today. I don’t believe … I don’t think I’m being fired today, and I’m not so frustrated in this job that I’m thinking of leaving.”
“This is the hardest job I’ve ever had. This is, in my view, the most important job I ever had. I would offer though, it is not the best job I ever had. The best job I ever had, as I’ve said many times, is when I was an enlisted Marine Sergeant infantryman,” said Kelly.
“Unless things change, I’m not quitting, I’m not getting fired, and I don’t think I’ll fire anyone tomorrow,” he continued before taking questions.
One member of the media asked Kelly about his comment that he wasn’t “so frustrated in this job,” asking if he is in fact frustrated.
“No, I’m not frustrated,” Kelly shot back.
This is really, really hard work, running the United States of America, I don’t run it, but i’m working for someone who is dedicated to serving the country in the way he’s talked about for a number of years. There are incredible challenges, economic challenges, healthcare challenges, all of that, obviously international challenges that have to be dealt with.
I don’t mean any criticism to Mr. Trump’s predecessors, but there’s an awful lot of things that were, in my view, kicked down the road, that have come home to roost, pretty much right now that have to be dealt with. This is hard, hard work John.
He said his only frustration is coming to work in the morning and reading alleged reports of what he or the President have said, and “[It] is just not true.”
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