By JONATHAN LEMIRE and JILL COLVIN
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Friday he was appointing Homeland Security head John Kelly to be White House chief of staff, ending the tumultuous six-month tenure of Reince Priebus.
After months of speculation about Priebus’ fate, Trump tweeted the decision just as he landed in Washington after an event in New York in which he lavishly praised Kelly’s performance at Homeland Security.
Priebus, the former Republican National Committee head, was the frequent target of rumors about his job security, the victim of a long whisper campaign by Trump allies and the subject of a remarkable public rebuke this week by the new White House communications director.
Trump’s announcement on Twitter: “I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff. He is a Great American … and a Great Leader. John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration.”
He also saluted Priebus, the chief of staff he had just pushed out.
“I would like to thank Reince Priebus for his service and dedication to his country. We accomplished a lot together and I am proud of him!”
Speaking to reporters on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, Trump said: “Reince is a good man. John Kelly will do a fantastic job.”
Kelly is a retired Marine four-star general.
Priebus never could bring a semblance of order to the team of in-fighting rivals that populate Trump’s West Wing, and questions about his future have long swirled around the office. Those questions sharply escalated this week with the arrival of Anthony Scaramucci, the hard-charging communications director who…