White House Chief of Staff Gen John Kelly made an unexpected appearance at Thursday’s White House press briefing to assure reporters that he is “not quitting” and is “not frustrated” with his job — in an apparent swipe at rampant media reports.
“I’m not quitting today. I don’t think I’m being fired today. I am not so frustrated in this job that I am thinking of leaving,” Kelly told reporters, adding he is “not frustrated.” “I will tell you this is the hardest job I’ve ever had.”
Kelly added that “Unless things change, I’m not quitting. I’m not getting fired and I don’t think I’ll fire anyone tomorrow.”
Mr. Kelly took questions from the press on a variety of issues but repeatedly took issue with media reports on the internal tensions in the administration, even as he repeatedly joked and sparred with the White House press corps.
“My only frustration, with all respect to people in the room, is to come to work and read about things I allegedly said or Mr. Trump allegedly said and it’s just not true,” Kelly said, echoing the president’s “fake news” mantra. “And I mean no disrespect to you all.”
Kelly further stated:
“I was not brought to this job to control anything but the flow of information to our president,” Kelly said, noting that he thinks the president is a “decisive guy” and a “very thoughtful man.”
“I restrict no one from going to see him,” Kelly said. “I was not sent in or brought in to control him and you should not measure my effectiveness as chief of staff on what you think I should be doing.”
Kelly also stated that one of President Donald Trump’s biggest frustrations is with the media, suggesting that reporters should “develop some better sources.”
“As I said when I first started talking, again, I am a reasonable guy, but when I read … watch TV in the morning, it is astounding to me about how much is misreported. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you are operating off of contacts, leaks, whatever you call them, but I would just offer to you the advice, I would say, maybe develop some better sources. Some person that works way down inside an office, well, develop some better sources.”