President Donald Trump said Saturday that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is on his way out of the administration.
Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn that Kelly will be leaving “at the end of the year” and he will announce his replacement in the next day or two.
Trump added that Kelly had been with him for two years and is “a great guy.”
Business Insider has reached out to the White House for comment and will update this post with any response.
Nick Ayers, who currently serves as Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, has long been suspected as Kelly’s likely replacement. Reports that Trump wanted to replace Kelly with Ayers have dated back to 2017.
Recent reports said Kelly was planning to resign in early December after a feud with Trump became so bad that the two were not on speaking terms. Kelly told staffers in July that he would stay on until 2020, but clashes with Trump seemed to cast doubt on that resolution.
In November, it was reported that Kelly may leave his position soon over repeated clashes with the first lady Melania Trump. NBC News reported that Kelly refused to promote some of her aides, prompting Trump to tell his chief of staff to give the first lady what she wanted.
A spokeswoman for the first lady then told INSIDER that Kelly and Melania Trump had “a very positive relationship.”
Rumors of Kelly’s departure swirled again after Trump abruptly requested Attorney General Jeff Sessions‘ resignation a day after the midterms.
In a Fox News interview last month, Trump railed against the rumors as “disgusting fake news” that reported the potential staff shakeup “like it’s fiction,” before saying he was considering up to five Cabinet changes.
“I have three or four or five positions that I’m thinking about,” Trump said. “Of that, maybe it’s going to end up being two. But I need flexibility.”
Trump then praised Kelly and admitted that clashes with Kelly, most recently after the chief of staff’s office had neglected personnel requests from first lady Melania Trump’s office, had worn on their relationship.
“We get along well,” Trump said. “There are certain things I love that he does, and there are certain things I don’t like that he does that aren’t his strength.”
Trump then admitted Kelly would most likely not be with the administration for the 2020 election.
“I haven’t even thought about John in terms of this,” he added. “But John at some point is going to want to move on.”
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.