Quantcast

Kelly sworn in as Trump's second chief of staff

Dan Merica, CNN | 7/31/2017, 11:19 a.m.
John Kelly was sworn in as President Donald Trump's new chief of staff Monday, tasked with bringing order to an ...
John Kelly was sworn in as President Donald Trump's new chief of staff Monday, July 31, 2017, asked with bringing order to an often chaotic White House and jump-starting the President's stalled legislative agenda. Pool

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- John Kelly was sworn in as President Donald Trump's new chief of staff Monday, tasked with bringing order to an often chaotic White House and jump-starting the President's stalled legislative agenda.

"We look forward to, if it is possible, even a better job as chief of staff," Trump said of his former secretary of homeland security.

Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that his administration has "done very well," noting the stock market, unemployment and business confidence.

"We have a tremendous base, we have a tremendous group of support, the country is optimistic and I think the general will just add to it. The country is doing very well. Strongest stock market ever," Trump said.

He added: "We will proceed and we will keep going but we have a fantastic leader, chief of staff, he is going to do a really great job."

Republicans on Capitol Hill hope Kelly, a retired United States Marine Corps general known for his fastidious nature, will bring order to a White House where disorder -- in the eyes of those on the Hill -- has led to few legislative victories and slumping poll numbers. Kelly's resume leads many to believe he has the chops to turn the White House around; he served as the commander of United States Southern Command for four years under President Barack Obama and served as a commanding general in Iraq from 2008 to 2009.

Trump campaigned for president as the ultimate political outsider and promised his history as a real estate magnate in New York would make it easy for him to strike a host of deals with lawmakers in Washington. The reality has been anything but. Trump's legislative agenda, capped by a failure to pass a health care plan, has languished on Capitol Hill and Trump will likely leave for his August vacation without passing a sweeping legislative win.

It was those failures that helped lead to the decision to have Kelly take over for Reince Priebus, who was ousted from the job after only six months on Friday.

Priebus, the former Republican National Committee chair, was brought in as Trump's first chief of staff because he had the deep relations with Republicans in Washington the outsider President lacked. The former chief of staff told CNN that he tendered his resignation on Thursday but the President surprised Washington when he announced the move on Twitter Friday shortly after a trip to New York.

"I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff," Trump tweeted. "He is a Great American... and a Great Leader. John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration."

The move caps months of speculation that Priebus' hold on his job was weak given internal White House chaos, continued leaks and the fact the former RNC chair was not always in sync with longtime Trump aides and advisers.

"The President wanted to go a different direction," Priebus told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" Friday evening. "A president has a right to hit a reset button. I think it's a good time to hit the reset button. I think he was right to hit the reset button."