White House chief of staff John Kelly reassured West Wing staffers on Friday that further administration upheaval was not forthcoming, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters, an assurance that runs counter to multiple media reports of further changes in Trump’s team.
“The chief of staff actually spoke to a number of staff this morning, reassuring them that there were personnel changes — no immediate personnel changes at this time — and that people shouldn’t be concerned,” Sanders said at the daily press briefing. “We should do exactly what we do every day. And that’s come to work and do the very best job that we can. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. That’s exactly what we’re focused on, and many of us have relayed that to other staffers that weren’t part of that meeting.”
Although he told West Wing staff members that no changes were imminent, Kelly is said to be among those in the Trump administration possibly on their way out. Multiple media outlets reported this week that Trump is close to replacing national security adviser H.R. McMaster, while the job status of cabinet and cabinet-level officials — David Shulkin, Ben Carson, Ryan Zinke and Scott Pruitt — have also been the subject of speculation.
Rumblings of further shifts in the Trump administration have followed the president’s surprise firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier this week, a decision the secretary reportedly learned of only when the president posted it on Twitter. After firing Tillerson, Trump told reporters that he was “really at a point where we’re getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want.”
Sanders dismissed the notion that talk of a further shakeup in the Trump administration had damaged morale inside the West Wing.
“We're going to continue to focus on having record success in the second year as we had in our first year,” she said, “and we fully expect to do that and we expect to do that as a staff and as a team.”