Nearly a year after President Donald Trump picked General John Kelly to be his chief of staff, the president has once again started contemplating his possible replacements, sources familiar with the discussions tell ABC News.
Those conversations raise the prospect that he may make a change very soon, around Kelly's one-year anniversary on the job in July.
The leading candidates to replace Kelly are Nick Ayers, current chief of staff for Vice President Mike Pence, and former congressman Mick Mulvaney, currently Director of the Office of Management and Budget, according to sources with knowledge of the search. Both men are known to have a positive personal rapport with Trump.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Kelly’s potential replacements.
White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told reporters traveling with the president on Air Force One that the Wall Street Journal story is “inaccurate” and that she spoke to Kelly and his imminent departure was “news to him.” Walters also said she spoke to the president who denied the story. “I spoke to the president who refuted this article. He said it is absolutely not true and that it is fake news," she said.
A retired Marine Corps general, Kelly joined the Trump administration as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. In July of 2017, Kelly became the White House Chief of Staff following the departure of Reince Priebus.
In the West Wing, Kelly quickly gained a reputation for bringing stability and discipline to an at times chaotic White House. But, his time in the administration has not been without controversy.
The former general took a hardline approach to immigration and came under fire for calling undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children “lazy” if they did not sign up as official DACA registrants.
Kelly’s leadership came into question after it was reported White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter was accused of domestic violence by previous wives, preventing him from obtaining a top-level security clearance. Kelly initially praised Porter as a man of integrity, but soon after Porter resigned over the allegations.
ABC News has previously reported that Kelly has offered the president his resignation in the past if that is what the president wishes.