Oct 12, 2017, 5:06 PM ET

Chief of staff John Kelly: 'I'm not quitting today ... I don't think I'm being fired today'


White House chief of staff John Kelly forcefully pushed back on rumors of discord between him and President Donald Trump on Thursday, telling reporters that he has no plans to resign or reason to believe he will be fired.

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"Although I read it all the time, pretty consistently, I'm not quitting today," Kelly said in his first public appearance at a White House press briefing. "I don't believe -- and I just talked to the president -- I don't think I'm being fired today. And I'm not so frustrated in this job that I'm thinking of leaving."

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted praise for Kelly, writing that "The Chief is doing a FANTASTIC job" and disputing reports that he would be fired. The president did not identify the source of the referenced reports, though stories from multiple news organizations earlier in the week described the relationship between Trump and Kelly as on tenuous footing.

Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, took office as chief of staff in late July after the resignation of Reince Priebus. He previously served just over six months as Secretary of Homeland Security. On Tuesday, after expressing the optimism about his job security, he characterized his role as a difficult, but critical one.

"I will tell you, this is the hardest job I've ever had," said Kelly. "This is, in my view, the most important job I've ever had."

When asked by one reporter about how he phrased his "not so frustrated" comment and if he felt foiled in any way, the chief of staff continued with a response similar to his prior remarks.

"No, I'm not frustrated," he said. "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 talked about for a number of years."

"My only frustration, with all due respect to everyone in the room, is when I come to work in the morning and read about things I allegedly said, or things that Mr. Trump allegedly said, or people who are going to be fired or whatever and It's just not true," Kelly continued. "That's my frustration; I mean no disrespect to you all."

Kelly went on to share his opinion on the medium used by Trump to defend the chief of staff on Tuesday: Twitter. He was asked whether Trump's social media habit makes his job harder.

"No. No," Kelly said. "The job of the chief of staff is to staff the president, give him the best advice or go get the best advice I can give him, help him consume advice, help him work through the decision-making process in an informed way. But that's my job and that's what I do."

News - Chief of staff John Kelly: 'I'm not quitting today ... I don't think I'm being fired today'

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  • dmp

    What an awful predicament we're in that a man of honor and courage has to speak to us between the lines: he hates his job, but duty requires that he do it anyway. Trump doesn't have 1/10th the brainpower or patriotism that Kelly does, and Trump hates that everyone knows it.

  • Sorrythatyouasked

    This can end only in one of three ways:
    1. You pi$$ off the boss and he cans you (or he just hasn't fired anyone for a few days and is feeling the urge when you enter his office)
    2. You finally realize you've sold your soul, and run screaming into the night
    3. You are found to be just like most of the others in the White House and eventually indicted and arrested.

  • YellowParrott

    Kelly put them all in their place! You go General!!

  • 3 Point Takedown

    The sad thing about this is that NO ONE said that he was "quitting today" or "was getting fired today"

  • kritikosman

    Remember General: Tomorrow! You're only A day A way! Thanks for being a buffer, but don't screw up your reputation in the process

  • WR

    It is terrible that people like our respected generals Kelly and Mattis have to come out to dispel false news reporting!

  • Chuck

    watch what you say. the tantrum in the oval office is listening and ready to tweet at you.

  • My two cents

    It's Friday the 13th.....hmm. Trump usually lets people go on a Friday afternoon just before he slithers away to New Jersey. If I'm Kelly, I'm taking an extended lunch today.

  • Sejal

    Trump is so thin skinned that it's fun to antagonize him just to make him puff up.

  • fmd160

    "I don't think I'm being fired today...." The key word here is "think", but he doesn't "know" it for a fact, much less when it might happen. With Trump, who knows?

  • ivar

    I like that. Not quitting........today.

  • Darrin Gaets

    Trump reports to Kelly............NESARA law soon. Once all the corruption is exposed, we will be screaming for an ALL new Government.
    People DONT WANT to see the blatant corruption by BIG MONEY....our entire system has been compromised by the Elite.....

    The Politicians need the ELITE to get ELECTED and the ELITE need Politicians that KEEp the ELITE in POWER.....We'll put you in the WHITE HOUSE and you make sure we CONTINUE to take in FAR MORE than we should,,,FAR FAR more

    There are those working hard to expose the corruption......they are the true GOOD guys......soon. All be exposed soon

  • Thomas

    I can not imagine how tough it must be to work for Trump. Yikes

  • darkest_star

    JK you are already fired. you just dont know it yet. i would bet all 500k in my 401k on it too!

  • Skippy3504

    Kelly must be wrong. All the anonymous news reports have to be correct.

  • ryanwiwb

    When you have to come out and say I'm not quitting or being fired today, you have to know that the end is near.

  • Marie D

    Some interesting comments on a channel discussing Trump early this morning. Tidbits...Trump has no empathy and already frustrated that Puerto Rico hasn't recovered from the hurricane after 3 weeks. Kelly is one of 3 *trying to contain the chaos in the White House. This one is funny and not political but also not surprising. On a 1 to 10 scale, Trump cheating at golf is an 11. lol He apparently thinks nobody sees him dropping a golf ball close to where he wants it to be, when it's way off base. He will drive the golf cart at times, trying to block the view and looking to see if anyone is watching, acting as if it was his first shot. Too funny and very SAD.

  • thinkmore

    Watch out Kelly. Being praised by Trump is dangerous.

  • kritikosman

    Tomorrow! You're always a day away!

  • feckles

    Quitting or getting fired today ?? Of course not !!! Now ....... tomorrow, well that's a 50/50 bet.

  • Dicazi

    First time I've seen him smile.

  • snake

    Mr. Kelly has had a long distinguished career and I hope he is able to finish it without the stench of Trump tarnishing it.

  • Ogrot

    Saw this tidbit in an article about the meeting Tillerson allegedly referred to Trump as a moron.

    "The White House meeting on Afghanistan had gone poorly, according to the sources. The President, displeased with the options he was being presented for managing America's longest war, suggested he wanted to fire the commander of US troops in Afghanistan, Army Gen. John Nicholson. And he compared the situation in the country to running a well-known Manhattan restaurant."

    Yep, that sounds like him. Don't know whether to laugh or cry. Hopefully we'll have the luxury to look back on all this and laugh. Especially fifty years from now when it all gets de-classified for the historians to poke through.

  • mark donnelly

    It's reassuring to hear the dotard's keeper is holding up reasonably well, since he's our last, best hope to blunt the effects of the worst prez ever elected.

  • No one you know

    How 'bout this: we keep Kelly, and Dump the Trump?

  • DFW-Texas πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

    White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said President Donald Trump is frustrated by how the press covers his administration.

    "It is astounding to me how much is misreported," Kelly said during a press briefing on Thursday. "I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you are operating off of contacts, leaks, whatever you call them."

    However, he said he would offer them one piece of advice: "Develop some better sources."

  • Tony Radcliffe-Hung

    Thank you John Kelly for helping to protect us from the full impact of Trump's incompetence, craziness, low-information voterness, and mental instability. I hope you stick around as long as Trump is around.

  • tym2go

    Ok! Not today but what about tomorrow, next day?