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Ousted Priebus praises Trump, refuses to comment on Scaramucci insults

31 July 2017, 01:03 | Jermaine Blake

Ousted Priebus praises Trump, refuses to comment on Scaramucci insults

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At the time of Trump's tweet, Reince Priebus' Twitter profile still listed his position as White House Chief of Staff.

President Donald Trump's former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said in his first interview since it was announced he would leave his role that Trump "wanted to go a different direction".

The full tweet read, "I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff".

"He is a great American and a great leader".

Kelly, 67, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, is now secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and will assume the chief of staff post on Monday.

Trump is calling Kelly "a true star" of the administration.

Consider the nonsense that Trump tweeted about Priebus on Friday (Saturday NZ Time) - "I would like to thank Reince Priebus for his service and dedication to his country". "I was wrong. You accomplish great things everyday defending our nation and I know your exceptional work will continue".

According to the Department of Defense, the four-star Marine general, 67, was born and raised in Boston, "enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1970, and was discharged as a sergeant in 1972, after serving in an infantry company with the 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina".

Kelly is now the secretary of Homeland Security.

In picking Kelly, Trump may also be betting on getting his agenda through Congress more effectively.

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White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the decision to make a change "started with the president and Reince about two weeks ago, in terms of timing".

Trump issued his decision just as he landed aboard Air Force One after a visit to Long Island and hours after Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare failed in the Senate.

Now Trump is gambling on US Marine General John Kelly, who until Friday was his homeland security secretary.

Kelly, 67, is a retired four star general of the Marine Corps and was tapped to lead the Department of Homeland Security on January 20.

On Thursday evening, The New Yorker posted an interview with Scaramucci that included a vulgarity-laced tirade against Priebus.

But Priebus had also been a steady hand inside a West Wing that often found itself off-balance.

Priebus, who told CNN he frequently addressed his job status with Trump, also was blamed by some within the White House for the failure of the Republican health care plan, with some Trump allies believing that Priebus' longtime relationships with Republicans on Capitol Hill should have ensured the bill's passage.

There has been longstanding staff rivalry between veterans who signed up early for Trump's presidential campaign and Republican National Committee officials brought in for the fall race against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. "Reince Priebus is a good man", Trump repeated. "We were sitting right across from him and he kept a poker face", King said, referring to Priebus.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of SC, a frequent Trump critic, welcomed Kelly as "one of the strongest and most natural leaders I've ever known".

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