Kelly's time as chief of staff has been marked by strife and division inside the White House. Trump's announcement confirmed rumors about Kelly's tenure in the West Wing that have for months plagued Trump's administration. Just weeks after Kelly arrived, Trump told reporters that both sides were responsible for the violence in Charlottesville, triggered by marches led by white supremacist groups.
The president, at the time, said that he didn't know whether Kelly would leave, but said "I like John a lot". Mr. Trump didn't respond to shouted questions as to whether Ayers would be the replacement. Potential replacements include Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers, who is still seen as a leading contender. "I appreciate his service very much".
Trump insisted he will have a swift and comprehensive rebuttal to Mueller's findings into collusion between his 2016 presidential election campaign and Russian Federation - even though no details of the report's contents have been leaked. Kelly's role, though, has lessened in recent months as the president has instead followed his own counsel, and added like-minded aides to his staff. There's a lot of buzz around Nick Ayers (the Vice President's Chief of Staff) being the pick, which would probably have some heads exploding in the press briefing room.
Dunford is scheduled to retire in October 2019 at the end of his second two-year term.
Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, was brought in to the White House to bring order to a chaotic situation of infighting and perpetual leaks.
But those efforts also miffed the president and some of his most influential outside allies, who had grown accustomed to unimpeded access. The White House struggled to stay on message as reporters pressed spokespeople to explain the inconsistencies.
Trouble surrounded Kelly before he began his stint as chief of staff.
Kelly, too, made no secret of the trials of his job, and often joked about how working for Trump was harder than anything he'd done before, including on the battlefield. He said some of those eligible for protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program were "lazy". Kelly called Porter "a man of true integrity and honor" and continued to defend him after Porter resigned. He quickly took on a broader range of responsibility than Priebus had, requiring all White House staffers to answer to him.