White House Chief of Staff John Kelly cracked a few jokes about working for President Donald Trump during an event marking the Department of Homeland Security’s 15th anniversary.
“The last thing I wanted to do was walk away from one of the great honors of my life, being the secretary of Homeland Security, but I did something wrong and God punished me, I guess,” Kelly said in jest.
Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, was appointed by Trump in July 2017 to restore order in the White House, which was then plagued by massive disagreements among factions in West Wing.
“I wish I had worked harder in the six months I had in the job to not only better protect the men and women that get beat up so badly every day, but to really advertise in a much more effective way how good you are,” Kelly added in his remarks.
Kelly's light-hearted comments come amid reports of growing rifts between him and Trump.
The WH chief of staff downgraded Trump's son-in-law and top aide Jared Kushner's security clearances, which, sources say, feels like a "betrayal" to the Trump family.
Amid tensions with the president, Kelly is under scrutiny for his handling of the case against ex-White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who was accused of domestic abuse by his ex-wives.
Kelly was reportedly aware of the allegations since the FBI had notified the White House. But he still chose to be oblivious and supported Porter initially before the accusations went public.
It's a little premature to say whether Kelly will join the parade of staffers leaving the White House under Trump, who sang praises for his chief of staff as recently as January.
Thank you to General John Kelly, who is doing a fantastic job, and all of the Staff and others in the White House, for a job well done. Long hours and Fake reporting makes your job more difficult, but it is always great to WIN, and few have won more than us!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2018