Home / World News / As rumors of an exodus swirl, White House pushes back – The Denver Post

As rumors of an exodus swirl, White House pushes back – The Denver Post

WASHINGTON — With whispers of a staffing purge permeating the West Wing, the White House pushed back Friday and insisted that reports of tumult and imminent departures are overblown.

Chief of staff John Kelly, himself the subject of rumors that his days are numbered, assured a group of staffers their jobs were safe, at least for now.

“The chief of staff actually spoke to a number of staff this morning reassuring them that there were no immediate personnel changes at this time and that people shouldn’t be concerned,” said press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

But days after President Donald Trump’s secretary of state was ousted, many close to the president think more upheaval is coming soon.

Trump has been moving toward replacing national security adviser H.R. McMaster but has not settled on exact timing or a successor, according to four people with knowledge of White House deliberations. Kelly has also worn on the president, confidants of the president said. And Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, under fire for ethics violations, appears to be grasping to keep his job.

With speculation about McMaster’s future particularly intense, Sanders gave multiple reassurances about the national security adviser — first in a tweet Thursday and then from the briefing room podium the next day. She said Trump had indicated that no changes were coming.

“I spoke directly to the president last night,” Sanders said. “He asked me to pass that message along to Gen. McMaster. I know the two of them have been in meetings today.”

McMaster, for his part, said Sanders had “set it straight” but struck a slightly different tone.

“Everybody has got to leave the White House at some point,” he told a reporter from ABC News outside the West Wing. “I’m doing my job.”

But the air of stability the White House tried to project felt more like a pause than a permanent shift.

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