Since entering the White House six months ago, Trump has parted company with his national security advisor, deputy national security advisor, Federal Bureau of Investigation director, press secretary, communications director, acting attorney general, deputy chief of staff and now chief of staff, a turnover of top officials that is unparalleled in U.S. political history.
The veteran of three tours in Iraq has a new mission: to steady the roiling Trump administration - and quiet the friendly fire - as White House chief of staff.
"Look, the President wanted to go a different direction".
Announcing the switch via Twitter, Trump called retired Marine Corps general Kelly a "great American".
It came on the same day that White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was quoted accusing Priebus of leaking stories to the media, in an interview with The New Yorker. His selection as secretary of the agency bolstered concerns about an increase in military influence in a Trump White House. Those who have departed include former deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh, former communications chief Mike Dubke, press secretary Sean Spicer and press aide Michael Short.
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Asked if Trump had confidence in his chief of staff, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not answer directly, saying: "I think I've addressed this question when it comes to staffing and personnel many times, that if the president doesn't, then he'll make that decision". But there were signs that Priebus was, at times, out of the loop, like when Trump chose to hire Scaramucci.
All but seven chiefs of staff have lasted at least one year in the job.
As Secretary of Homeland Security, he has been very effective in engaging members of Congress and communicating a coherent message for the President.
Priebus has not responded to Scaramucci's claims. "He has been a true star of my Administration", Trump tweeted. But he clashed with Scaramucci and had been under siege by Trump advisers inside and outside of the White House who complained that he was ineffectual. I can't think of a better person than General John Kelly to succeed me and I wish him God's blessings and great success.
Priebus, who hails from Wisconsin and has deep ties to House Speaker Paul Ryan, had grown increasingly isolated in the White House, as past Republican National Committee colleagues and other allies have left or been pushed out.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said in a statement "Reince Priebus is a good friend".
Trump has ruffled feathers with off-message tweets, his handling of the Russian Federation investigation, the firing James Comey as FBI director (arguably his most high-profile political miscue) and his public shaming of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which has turned many congressional Republicans on the president. Those orders have been stripped down by courts pending a Supreme Court review this fall. "Secretary Kelly is one of the strongest and most natural leaders I've ever known".