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White House chief Kelly: ‘Unless things change, I’m not quitting. I’m not getting fired.’

The Washington Post logoThe Washington Post 10/12/2017 Philip Rucker
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Video by Reuters

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, making his first public appearance before journalists, said Thursday that he is neither frustrated in his job nor planning to depart.

Taking the lectern in the White House briefing room, Kelly sought to dismiss reports that he has been frustrated working for President Trump in what he characterized as “the hardest job I've ever had.”

“Although I read it all the time pretty consistently, I’m not quitting today,” Kelly said. “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.”

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Kelly continued: “I would tell you, this is the hardest job I’ve ever had. This is, in my view, the most important job I’ve ever had. I would offer, though, it is not the best job I’ve ever had.” That, he said, was serving as an enlisted Marine.

“Unless things change,” Kelly added, “I’m not quitting. I’m not getting fired.”

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly in the Oval Office on Tuesday. © Melina Mara/The Washington Post White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly in the Oval Office on Tuesday.

A four-star Marine Corps general, Kelly took over as Trump's chief of staff on July 28 and has enforced new order and disciplined processes in what had been a chaotic West Wing.

Advisers and other people close to both Trump and Kelly have said there have been tensions and points of frustration as the two men adjust to working with each other, although Trump has repeatedly praised his chief's performance — even predicting last weekend that Kelly would stay on the job for seven years, until the completion of the president's second term.

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