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."

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 1,131,713 — Total deaths: 59,884 — Total recoveries: 233,591Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 278,458 — Total deaths: 7,159 — Total recoveries: 9,897Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primaries by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  7. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  8. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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