Oct 12, 2017

Kelly: I'm not thinking of leaving this job

Kelly led the press briefing Thursday. Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery / AP

The president's Chief of Staff John Kelly told reporters, "I'm not so frustrated in this job that I'm thinking of leaving ... [Chief of Staff] is the hardest job I've ever had."

The backdrop: Several media reports have included speculation that frustrations with President Trump will cause Kelly to quit, but he joked with reporters, saying "I'm not quitting today ... I don't think I'm being fired today."

  • On Trump's morning tweets about Puerto Rico: "The tweet about FEMA and first responders is accurate," but they will be there until the work is done, Kelly said.
  • On Kelly's strategy in the White House: "I just put some organization to it ... with a smile on my face," he said.
  • On the report that Trump wants to expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal: Trump often says, "Wouldn't it be great if we could get rid of them all?" instead of expanding the arsenal 10-fold, Kelly said.
  • On Trump's Iran deal announcement: Trump will announce his decision at 12:45pm Friday, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
  • On Trump's frustrations: He's frustrated with Congress and "you," Kelly said to reporters. "When i read in the morning ... it is astounding to me how much is misrepresented," he said. "I would offer some advice to you .. develop some better sources."
  • On whether the president is alienating establishment Republicans: Trump "is willing to work with anyone." Some people "grandstand ... I'm not saying Senator Corker is that way." Kelly said he has called Corker.
  • On Trump's tweets: Kelly said they don't make his job as Chief of Staff harder. "I read in the paper that I've been a failure at ... controlling his tweeting ... I was not brought to this job to control anything except the flow of information to the president."
  • On why Trump waited on the health care executive order: There was a sense that the big bill would take care of the things in the order, but it didn't pass, Kelly said. "We probably won't have [another] health care bill until, say, the spring," he added.
  • On potential war with North Korea: "The American people should be concerned about a state that has developed a pretty good ICBM capability ... Let's hope that diplomacy works."
  • On the appointment of a Fed Chair: Interviews are "ongoing."
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