Trump's chief of staff leaving at the end of the year, president says

Posted at 10:48 AM, Dec 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-08 14:01:49-05

(KGTV) — White House chief of staff John Kelly will leave his position within the Trump Administration by the end of the year, President Donald Trump told reporters on Saturday afternoon.

CNN on Friday reported that Kelly was expected to announce his departure in the coming days.

"John Kelly will be leaving ... I don't know if I can say retiring, but he's a great guy," Trump told a pool of reporters outside the White House before departing to Pennsylvania for the Army-Navy football game. "John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year. We will be announcing who will be taking John's place, it might be on an interim basis."

Kelly has been part of the president's administration for 17 months, serving as Secretary of Homeland Security before moving into the role of Chief of Staff following the departure of Reince Priebus in July 2017.

While no one has been officially announced to succeed Kelly, sources tell ABC News that Nick Ayers, who currently serves as Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, is the leading candidate to take over.

Kelly's departure has been long-rumored in Washington, even while he had recently accepted Trump's invitation to stay on in the position through his 2020 re-election campaign, ABC News reports.