White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said President Trump is not looking to replace either chief of staff John Kelly or communications director Hope Hicks, despite reports to the contrary.
Kelly and Hicks have been the center of controversy this week over their handling of former staff secretary Rob Porter’s departure from the White House over domestic abuse allegations brought by his former wives. Kelly is alleged to have known about the accusations against Porter months ago and done nothing, while Hicks has drafted fawning statements about Porter who is believed to be her current boyfriend.
Conway said on ABC’s “This Week” reports that Trump is looking to get rid of one or both of them are not true.
“I have spoken to the president last night and he wants everyone to know he has full confidence in John Kelly and he's not looking for replacements,” she said. “He also has full confidence in Hope Hicks. There are thinly sourced stories out there. When it comes to those two individuals, the president has full confidence in their performance.”
Hicks was the first hire on Trump’s campaign and has worked extremely closely with the president since June 2015. She’s seen as one of the centers of power in the White House because of her close relationship with the president.
Kelly is a late-comer to Trump’s inner circle and has been tasked with instilling discipline in the White House. However, his performance in the role has been under the microscope in recent weeks after he reportedly criticized the president in a meeting with congressional lawmakers about immigration and said more people would have been covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals if they got off their “lazy asses” to sign up for the program.