(CN) – President Donald Trump revealed a major White House shake-up on Twitter Friday afternoon, announcing he’s named Secretary of Homeland Security Gen. John F. Kelly as White House chief of staff.
“He is a Great American and a Great Leader. John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration,” the president said in a pair of tweets.
In a separate tweet, Trump said, “I would like to thank Reince Priebus for his service and dedication to his country. We accomplished a lot together and I am proud of him!”
In a briefing with reporters, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Kelly will start in his new job on Monday and that there will be a cabinet meeting immediately after he is sworn in.
There are preliminary reports that Reince Priebus resigned on Thursday after Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, lashed at him in a verbal tirade during an interview with Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker. Scaramucci suggested to Lizza that Priebus had leaked information about him.
But Huckabee Sanders said the President and Priebus had been talking about a change as long as two weeks ago.
In his first public statement on the change, Priebus said, “It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve this President and our country.”
“I want to thank the President for giving me this very special opportunity. I will continue to serve as a strong supporter of the President’s agenda and policies. I can’t think of a better person than General John Kelly to succeed me and I wish him God’s blessings and great success,” he said.
Priebus traveled with the president to New York earlier Friday. The announcement of the change was made as Trump traveled back to Washington aboard Air Force One.
Kelly is a retired United States Marine Corps general and the former commander of United States Southern Command, the Unified Combatant Command responsible for American military operations in Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
He previously served as the commanding general of the Multi-National Force—West in Iraq from February 2008 to February 2009, and as the commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North in October 2009.
Kelly was appointed Secretary of Homeland Security on Jan. 20.
As the president deplaned at Andrews Air Force Base, waiting reporters asked him to comment on the announcement which had been tweeted only moments earlier.
“Reince is a good man. John Kelly will do a fantastic job,” Trump said. “General Kelly has been a star. He’s done an incredible job thus far, respected by everybody. He’s a great great American. Reince is a good man.”
A White House pool report indicated that after touching down in Washington, Priebus exited the plane and entered a suburban with White House advisor Steven Miller and social-media director Dan Scavino Jr.. Moments later, Miller and Scavino exited the van and got into another car. – Developing story.
Brandi Buchman contributed to this report.