You know, it’s funny. On Friday morning, after we ran a very short and very straightforward post documenting the latest rumor that John Kelly was on his way out as White House Chief of Staff, one reader decided to send me an e-mail suggesting that we shouldn’t be in the business of spreading rumors.
To be clear, the “rumor” of John Kelly’s desire to extricate himself from 1600 Penn. and otherwise distance himself from the train wreck that is the Trump administration ceased to be a “rumor” a long, long time ago.
While the timing of his exit was always the subject of considerable debate, exactly nobody with any common sense believed he would stick around through 2020. Really, it’s a small miracle Kelly didn’t resign after Trump figuratively dug up his dead son in the course of waging an absurd war of words with the widow of a fallen soldier 14 months ago.
Well, suffice to say that whatever ambiguity there was around John Kelly’s “rumored” departure is now gone, because on Saturday morning, Trump said this to reporters:
Got that? Here it is again:
John Kelly will be leaving, retiring–I don’t know if I can say retiring, but John Kelly will be leaving toward the end of the year, at the end of the year. And I appreciate his service very much.
It’s over. Kelly is out. Period. The only question now is whether it’s too late for him to salvage his reputation.
The fact that Kelly hung around as long as he did is a true testament to his willingness to give up everything in the service of his country. In the interest of protecting America from what he almost surely realizes is an existential threat far greater than any foreign adversary, he has, on innumerable occasions, swallowed his pride and degraded himself in public just so he could avoid getting fired because he realized that if he was fired, there would be one less person standing between Donald Trump’s worst instincts (which is all of his instincts) and America.
As it turns out, there was only so much he could take. Last month, he reached the breaking point.
He’ll doubtlessly be replaced by Nick Ayers, Vice President Pence’s chief of staff.
So that’s that.
Oh, and there’s always – always – a tweet…
3 Chief of Staffs in less than 3 years of being President: Part of the reason why @BarackObama can't manage to pass his agenda.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 10, 2012