Gen. John Kelly said Friday he was “honored to be asked to serve as the Chief of Staff” to President Donald Trump in his first public comment since being tapped to replace Reince Priebus.
“I have been fortunate to have served my country for more than 45 years — first as a Marine and then as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security,” Kelly said in a statement released Friday.
Kelly, who has been serving as Secretary of Homeland Security under Trump, also thanked officials at the DHS for their continued work in serving the country.
Kelly wrote: “To the tremendous men and women of DHS, I thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Secretary. When I left the Marines, I never thought I would find as committed, as professional, as patriotic a group of individuals. I was wrong. You accomplish great things everyday defending our nation and I know your exceptional work will continue.”
President Trump announced on Twitter Friday afternoon that Kelly would be taking over for Priebus as White House chief of staff.
"I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff. He is a Great American and a Great Leader. John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration," Trump wrote.
He added, "I would like to thank Reince Priebus for his service and dedication to his country. We accomplished a lot together and I am proud of him!"
The news came after days of rampant speculation that Priebus was on the out’s with the administration and tense public feuding between the outgoing chief of staff, new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci and chief strategist Steve Bannon.