White House chief of staff John Kelly has signaled to President Trump he's open to stepping down from his post, amid frustration in the White House concerning how Kelly handled allegations that a former White House aide abused his ex-wives.
Trump has reached out to close confidantes about replacing Kelly, and is weighting candidates such as top economic adviser Gary Cohn, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.
But although it’s uncertain if Kelly will remain in his position, it doesn’t appear that he will leave shortly, ABC News reported, followed by the New York Times.
Despite the discussions about stepping down, Kelly has not offered his resignation, a White House spokesman told NBC News.
JUST IN: Chief of Staff Kelly has not offered his resignation to the president, per White House spokesperson— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) February 9, 2018
Kelly has been subject to backlash over his praise for outgoing White House staff secretary Rob Porter amid allegations that Porter abused his ex-wives.
Kelly praised Porter in a statement Tuesday, claiming he was a “man of true integrity and honor,” in response to a report from the Daily Mail alleging Porter called his second wife a “fucking bitch” while they were on their honeymoon and grabbed her out the shower on one occasion. The report also featured a protective order against Porter that she obtained in 2010.
Porter’s first wife told the Daily Mail in a separate report that the former White House aide had punched her face and choked her, among other abuses. The second report featured a photo of his first wife with a black eye.
Kelly issued a response saying that there is “no place for domestic violence,” but stood by his previous comments praising Porter’s character.
White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah claimed that Kelly was not “fully aware” of the situation until this week and also said that “the president has confidence in his chief of staff.”
Porter resigned on Wednesday from his post, but has denied the credibility of the allegations.