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‘Another day of chaos at the White House’: Washington responds to major shake-up at White House

President Trump tweeted July 28 that his homeland security secretary, retired Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly, is replacing Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff. (Victoria Walker,Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

President Trump has made this week a historic one for announcements at 140 characters or less.

On Wednesday, he announced a policy to ban transgender troops from the military. And on Friday afternoon, as Washington political reporters began shuffling out in the rain for happy hour, Trump dropped another bombshell on Twitter: He ousted White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus in favor of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly.

The move comes after the resignation of former press secretary Sean Spicer and tumultuous infighting among Trump’s closest advisers — Preibus and newly appointed White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, who ripped Priebus in a lengthy, profanity-laced call with a reporter at the New Yorker.

Speaking to reporters as he deplaned following his New York trip, Trump said Friday that “Reince is a good man. John Kelly will do a fantastic job. General Kelly has been a star. Done an incredible job thus far. Great, great American respected by everybody. He’s done a great, great job. Reince Priebus is a good man,” Trump said Friday as he deplaned following his New York visit with law enforcement officers.

According to White House officials, the president had become convinced that Priebus was a “weak” leader and had been lobbied intensely by rival advisers to remove him, The Post reported.

“It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve this President and our country,” Priebus said in a statement. “I will continue to serve as a strong supporter of the President’s agenda and policies.”

Kelly is expected to be sworn into the job Monday.

“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,” Kelly said in a Friday statement accepting the position and addressing his now-former agency colleagues.

“You accomplish great things everyday defending our nation and I know your exceptional work will continue,” he added.

Trump’s abrupt West Wing shake-up drew immediate reaction from both sides of the aisle. Some lawmakers pointed to the change as another sign of a chaotic White House.

GOP lawmakers and influential Republicans, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Newt Gingrich, chimed in to support the selection of Kelly and to bid Priebus farewell, with Ryan calling him a “dear friend.”

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said in a statement that Priebus “should be proud of his service” and Kelly “is one of the strongest and most natural leaders I’ve ever known.”

Others looked ahead as Kelly’s move will mean a new Homeland Security Secretary.

David Nakamura contributed to this report.

Read more:

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