Mr. Priebus said he had tendered his resignation to the president on Thursday, the same day the newly appointed White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, was quoted vowing to force the chief of staff out. Even so, as late as Friday morning, Mr. Priebus told colleagues that he thought he would have a week before the announcement to make a graceful exit, but he evidently learned otherwise later in the day. Mr. Kelly will take over the corner office in the West Wing on Monday.
Mr. Priebus said after the announcement that he had always made clear to Mr. Trump that when the president thought it was time for a new chief, he would support that. âThe president has a right to change directions,â he said on CNN. âThe president has a right to hit a reset button. I think itâs a good time to hit the reset button.â
He expressed no bitterness about his removal. âIâm always going to be a Trump fan,â he said. âIâm on Team Trump, and I look forward to helping him achieve his goals and his agenda for the American people.â
Mr. Kelly will be the first current or former general to serve as White House chief of staff since Alexander M. Haig in the final stretch of President Richard M. Nixonâs administration. Some advisers to Mr. Trump opposed the choice, arguing that Mr. Kelly did not have the political background for the job.
âThe president needs someone who understands the Trump constituency as his chief of staff, someone who has both administrative skills and political savvy,â Roger Stone, Mr. Trumpâs off-and-on adviser, said, anticipating Mr. Kellyâs selection before the announcement was made.