President Donald Trump offered Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly the job of chief of staff in mid-May, The Washington Post reports.
Kelly reportedly declined Trump’s request, citing the need to continue his work at the Department of Homeland Security on immigration and national security policy. Trump did not let up on Kelly and repeatedly asked him in the interim to take the job and replace former Republican National Convention chairman Reince Priebus.
Priebus was ousted amidst a White House staff shake-up Friday. Trump announced that Kelly would take his place and leave his post at the homeland security agency.
“Given what’s going on in Washington, I think the president really needs the general to help him restore order in this White House and advance his vision,” an administration official told WaPo. Kelly is the first former U.S. General to hold the position of White House chief of staff since Alexander Haig under former President Richard Nixon.
Kelly served as the head of U.S. Southern Command until his retirement in 2016, and lost a son to combat in Afghanistan. He served multiple combat tours in Iraq and was a noted proponent of a strong border throughout his time in the U.S. military.
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