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White House's John Kelly: I'm not leaving or getting fired 'unless things change'

  • White House chief of staff John Kelly says he is not quitting or getting fired "unless things change."
  • Kelly said it is not his job to control President Donald Trump's often inflammatory tweets.
  • Kelly, a former Marine general, calls the job the hardest he's ever had.

White House chief of staff John Kelly says the job is the hardest he's ever had — but he has no plans to leave, yet.

"I am not so frustrated in this job that I'm thinking of leaving," he told reporters on Thursday during a rare appearance at the White House press briefing.

"Unless things change, I'm not quitting. I'm not getting fired," he added.

On Monday, Vanity Fair reported that tensions had risen between President Donald Trump and his chief of staff. Some in the White House have speculated about how long the former Marine general will last in the administration, the report said.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on October 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on October 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Kelly was seen as bringing discipline to Trump's White House when he took the post this summer, after a stint as Homeland Security secretary. He cracked down on the types of information that Trump read. He more carefully controlled how the president meets people in the West Wing.

Still, he has not completely contained Trump's freewheeling and chaotic style.

Kelly appeared visibly uncomfortable during two of Trump's public appearances. He stood with arms crossed, staring at the floor, in August while the president said "very fine people" marched at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The chief of staff also hid his face behind a hand as Trump made defiant threats toward North Korea and "rocket man" Kim Jong Un at the United Nations last month.

Kelly said he is "not frustrated" in the job. But he called it "really, really hard work."

Asked if the president's often inflammatory tweets make his job more difficult, Kelly flatly responded, "No." He added that he is not tasked with controlling the president's social media feed.

"I was not brought to this job to control anything but the flow of information to our president," he said.