Following President Donald Trump’s announcement on Friday that Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly would replace Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff, members of the administration, lawmakers and other politicians offered their thoughts on the West Wing shake-up.
In a statement, Priebus said, "It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve this President and our country. I want to thank the President for giving me this very special opportunity." Priebus said he would continue to support Trump, adding that he would "continue to serve as a strong supporter of the President's agenda and policies."
"I can't think of a better person than General John Kelly to succeed me and I wish him God's blessings and great success," said Priebus.
Kelly wrote in a statement, "I have been fortunate to have served my country for more than 45 years - first as a Marine and then as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. I am honored to be asked to serve as the Chief of Staff to the President of the United States."
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted that he was “[g]rateful to Reince for his friendship and service to America,” adding that Priebus has “been a huge part of our success!”
Well said, Mr. President. Grateful to Reince for his friendship and service to America. He's been a huge part of our success! https://t.co/xHEevgjbo4— Vice President Pence (@VP) July 28, 2017
Pence also congratulated Kelly, writing, “I know you will do a great job!”
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who just Thursday told reporters he thought Priebus was doing a “fantastic job at the White House,” issued a statement praising the outgoing chief of staff. “He has served the president and the American people capably and passionately,” said Ryan. “He has achieved so much, and he has done it all with class.”
On Thursday, Ryan had urged Priebus and new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci to “sit down and settle” their differences, amongst speculation of disagreement in the White House.
Newt Gingrich also took to Twitter to praise both Priebus and Kelly. “Priebus will go down in history as one of the most important RNC chairs in the 163 year history of the GOP. He changed history,” Gingrich said.
Priebus will go down in history as one of the most important RNC chairs in the 163 year history of the GOP. He changed history.— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) July 28, 2017
Kelly, he continued, is “a remarkable Marine who has served his country his entire life.”
General John Kelly is a remarkable Marine who has served his country his entire life. America and Pres Trump are lucky to have him serve now— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) July 28, 2017
Many other Republican lawmakers commented on the staffing change.
In a statement, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Priebus "has been a devoted Chief of Staff to the President from the beginning" and praised him for his "great relationships with members of Congress." Kelly, he said, will bring "unparalleled leadership skills to the job."
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said in a statement “Reince Priebus is a good friend. I thank him for his service and wish him the best of luck going forward.” Johnson called Kelly “an outstanding leader who has served his country honorably.”
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., tweeted that Priebus “did a good job as chief of staff. His expertise & relationships with Congress benefited the White House in many ways.”
Reince Priebus did a good job as chief of staff. His expertise & relationships with Congress benefited the White House in many ways.— Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) July 28, 2017
Sen. Tom Cotton R-Ark., said “John Kelly is a great American,” before thanking Priebus “for his service to our country.”
Thanks to Reince Priebus for his service to our country. (2/2)— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) July 28, 2017
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, wished Priebus well in his future endeavors. "Reince did an exemplary job under extraordinary circumstances," he said. "Best of luck to him and his wonderful family in their next chapter."
HATCH: "Reince did an exemplary job under extraordinary circumstances. Best of luck to him and his wonderful family in their next chapter."— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) July 28, 2017
Others, including former Obama administration senior adviser David Axelrod, questioned how Scaramucci and Kelly would work together in the White House.
Priebus’ departure comes one week after former White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned, shortly after the announcement that Scaramucci would be joining the administration.