WASHINGTON – Another day, another set of rumors about the future of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
President Donald Trump and aides declined to comment publicly Friday on news reports that Kelly will soon leave his post; some officials said privately there are signs that Kelly's departure is imminent, but also noted they have been down this road before.
Last month, some of these same officials expressed concern that Kelly would leave if Trump dismissed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, one of Kelly's proteges.
Trump told reporters he would make a staffing announcement Saturday, but indicated it will deal with the military.
"I can give you a little hint: It will have to do with the joint chiefs of staff and succession," said Trump, who is expected to tap Army Gen. Mark Milley as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Trump hosts a dinner for senior staff on Friday, and Kelly is expected to attend.
While officials in July had said Kelly had agreed to stay on through the 2020 election, some of those same officials said more recently that he might move up his timetable. They said Trump has sounded out aides about possible replacements. They include Vice President Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers.
Trump brought in Kelly little more than a year-and-a-half ago to create a more unified structure, but the two later clashed over items ranging from access to the president to personnel matters.
Chris Whipple, author of "The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency," said the Trump-Kelly relationship has been "a lousy marriage" for months.
"The bargain seems to have been that Kelly would not tell Trump what he did not want to hear, and Trump could do whatever he wanted," Whipple said. "That’s also a formula for lousy governance."