Former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly “will do a spectacular job” as White House chief of staff, President Donald Trump said Monday after swearing in the retired Marine Corps general.
“We just swore in General Kelly,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “He will do a spectacular job, I have no doubt, as chief of staff. What he’s done in terms of homeland security is record-shattering.”
“You look at the border, you look at the tremendous results we’ve had, and you look at the spirit,” Trump continued. “And with a very controversial situation, there’s been very little controversy, which is pretty amazing by itself.”
It wasn’t immediately clear what controversy the president alluded to, given the issues that have rocked this administration, including a recent staff shakeup that’s seen the departure of the White House’s chief of staff, press secretary and communications director as well as the chaotic rollout of the president’s travel ban in January.
About an hour earlier, Trump had cited stock market numbers, the unemployment rate, rising wages, border security and his conservative Supreme Court justice as evidence that there is “[n]o WH chaos!”
In the Oval Office, ahead of a Cabinet meeting at the White House, Trump congratulated Kelly “on having done a fantastic job.”
“We look forward to, if it’s possible, an even better job as chief of staff,” he said.
Trump also echoed his tweet in his brief remarks to the press, claiming his administration has set “lots of records” and pointing again to the stock market, unemployment rate and this time business spirit based on unnamed polls.
“We’re doing very well,” the president said, adding that his administration has a “tremendous base” and “group of support.” “The country is optimistic, and I think the general will just add to it. But the country’s doing very well.”
The president continued hailing his new chief of staff at his first all-Cabinet meeting with Kelly representing the White House instead of the Department of Homeland Security.
Trump said what Kelly has done at DHS “has been nothing short of miraculous” and expressed “no doubt that he will be an absolutely superb chief of staff.”
“I predict that General Kelly will go down in terms of the position of chief of staff [as] one of the great[est] ever,” Trump said.
The president announced Friday that Kelly would succeed Reince Priebus as chief of staff after a turbulent six months in the position. Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke will replace Kelly as acting secretary.