White House Chief of Staff Kelly dismisses quitting rumors

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday Sept. 20 2017 in New York

John Kelly, who has so far maintained a low public profile at the White House, on Thursday described the president as a "thoughtful" and "straightforward guy" and joined his criticism of the media over what he claimed are false reports.

Kelly noted that his current position is "the hardest job I've ever had".

The White House says President Donald Trump will nominate Kirstjen Nielsen to serve as his next secretary of Homeland Security.

Neither the White House nor Nielsen responded to requests for comment. And at Trump's speech last month before the U.N., Kelly had his head in his hands.

But even before Trump formally announced Nielsen's appointment during an East Room ceremony that was attended by much of the Cabinet and senior members of the White House staff, the top Democrat on a key committee signalled that he had questions about Nielsen's background.

One former Homeland Security official, who asked for anonymity so that the person could speak candidly, says the pick is a controversial one, and that people at the department are already speaking about leaving if the nomination moves forward. All of you. Not all of you, but many of you.

Prior to joining Kelly at Homeland Security, Nielsen was president of the firm Sunesis Consulting.

But he offered the assembled reporters a piece of advice: "Maybe develop some better sources". Kelly said Americans should be "concerned" about North Korea since it has developed an intercontinental ballistic missile capability and is developing a vehicle that would allow a missile to survive re-entry into the earth's atmosphere. The best job I've ever had, as I've said many times, is when I was an enlisted marine sergeant infantryman. Gone is Kelly's predecessor, Reince Priebus; press secretary Sean Spicer, and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, to name a few. "But I listen to everybody and ultimately I will do what's right for the United States and really what's right for the world", he said, adding, "it's a problem that has to be solved".

Kelly also addressed Trump's tweet Thursday morning that FEMA and other rescue workers couldn't be kept in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico "forever", and reiterated that the president believes the US citizens there deserve the same support as those who were hit by hurricanes earlier this year in Texas and Florida. The chief of staff did so with a smile and a salute.



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