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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."
Amy Harder 1 hour ago
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Column / Harder Line

The swamp’s tug-o-war over America’s ethanol mandate

American eagle with corn in its claws
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

A biofuels standard Congress passed more than a decade ago in the name of rural development, energy security and climate change has devolved into an arcane fight over market share that has nothing to do with those initial three goals.

Why it matters: The law — called the renewable fuel standard that requires refineries to blend biofuels into gasoline — is a textbook example of how regulations create winners, losers and unintended consequences.

Caitlin Owens 1 hour ago
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GOP: Fixing the tax law is nothing like fixing the ACA

Sens. John Thune, Roy Blunt and Mitch McConnell
Sens. John Thune, Roy Blunt and Mitch McConnell (Photo: Al Drago / Getty Images)

Republicans have discovered their tax law contains a mistake and are hoping Democrats will help them fix it. But if the narrative of "one party passed a giant law and now wants to change it" sounds familiar, Republicans are insisting this is different from when they wouldn't help fix the Democrats' Affordable Care Act.

Between the lines: This is a great indicator of why Congress struggles to get anything done — because now the precedent has been set for one party to refuse to fix problems with the other party's laws. And for what it's worth, some Democrats are also denying the parallel — because, of course, they say their ACA process was much more inclusive than the GOP's tax one.