This isn't the first time General Kelly has been rumored to be on his way out of the White House, but President Trump and the administration have consistently come out in support of the chief of staff.
President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to lament that "lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation" in the wake of the resignations of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter and speechwriter David Sorensen following allegations of domestic abuse.
United States president Donald Trump thrust himself into the national debate over sexual misconduct, on Saturday, asserting that "a mere allegation" could destroy the lives of those accused, as his own White House was engulfed by charges of abusive behavior. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) that said, "If [Trump] wants due process for the over dozen sexual assault allegations against him, let's have Congressional hearings tomorrow". CNN anchor Jake Tapper pointed out that the evidence against Porter amounted to more than "mere allegation".
Those pleas of innocence come despite public accusations by Porter's former spouses, including one who produced photos of a black eye she said Porter gave her while in Italy.
The latest imbroglios involving White House personnel are taking place during a turbulent cultural conversation about sexual harassment, with powerful people being laid low by allegations that sometimes stretch back decades. "He said, 'Tell Jake I have full faith in Chief of Staff John Kelly and that I am not actively searching for replacements.' He said, 'I saw that all over the news today - I have faith in him, ' and he does".
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Until hours before the Harvard graduate left his post, the White House was praising him as an upstanding and integral member of staff. CNN's Jake Tapper tweeted back: "In point of fact, 2 ex-wives talking on the record to journalists and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and one ex-girlfriend on background, with a photo of a black eye and a police report, is not 'a mere allegation'". Among them was Roy Moore, the former Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, who is accused of molesting teenage girls. Some aides in that meeting privately questioned Kelly's account, thinking his version of events was self-serving, according to one official with knowledge of the meeting but not authorized to discuss it publicly.
Porter's departure, along with Kelly under fire, could deprive the West Wing of some of its steadier hands and anxious some staffers that the sense of order that appeared to have been installed in recent months could evaporate.
"The perception of Kelly as above politics has been critical to his success in the West Wing". The staff secretary resigned later Wednesday.
More importantly, though, the fact that this leaked out so quickly suggests Kelly has lost the confidence of his staff. He had denied the allegations and alleged that he "was the victim of repeated physical violence" during his marriage. "He has said this in the past about incidents that relate to him as well".