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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."

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

5 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.