Trump says Kelly will resign as chief of staff soon, will nominate Milley as chairman of Joint Chiefs

File photo of Donald Trump with outgoing White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters New York, NY, USA Dec 09, 2018, 05.43 AM (IST)

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly will leave his job at the end of this year, US President Donald Trump said on Saturday (December 8), describing the former Marine Corps general as a loyal aide during his tenure.

"He's a great guy," Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for Philadelphia where he will attend the annual football game between the Army and Navy military academies.

"I appreciate his service very much," the president added. "We will be announcing who will take John's place. It might be on an interim basis."

Trump, a freewheeling former businessman, brought Kelly in last year to restore order to his often chaotic White House, but clashed repeatedly with him in recent months.

He also announced on Saturday that he would nominate four-star Army General Mark Milley to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

While departing the White House for Philadelphia for the annual Army-Navy football game, Trump told reporters that Milley is "a great gentleman, he's a great patriot, he's a great soldier."

Trump's announcement comes months earlier than expected. Dunford would normally remain as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff until a scheduled October 1, 2019, handover.