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No more personnel changes coming up, says White House amid sacking of top US officials

News Agencies | Updated on: 17 March 2018, 13:40 IST

The White House is not planning any "immediate personnel changes" and is focused on work, chief of staff John Kelly has assured President Donald Trump's senior staff, amid a flurry of recent departures of top officials that have jolted the Trump administration.

Kelly met with the administration staff yesterday, reassuring them that their jobs were safe and they "shouldn't be concerned".

"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," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference yesterday.

"We should do exactly what we do every day, and that's come to work and then 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," she said.

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In a major story on Friday, The Washington Post reported that Trump was "now comfortable" with ousting national security adviser H R McMaster with whom he never personally gelled, but is willing to take time executing the move because he wants to ensure both that the three-star Army general is not humiliated and that there is a strong successor lined up.

"We are going to continue to focus on having record success in the second year as we had in our first year, and we fully expect to do that and we expect to do that as a staff and as a team," Sanders said in response to a question on the news reports that Trump was planning a series of changes inside the White House including to replace McMaster.

The White House, however, dispelled the reports and said that there were no changes at the National Security Council.

"I spoke directly to the President last night. He asked me to pass that message along to General McMaster. I know the two of them have been in meetings today."Whether or not that came up, I don't know.

But again, our focus is not on a lot of the news stories that you guys would like us to be focused on, but we're actually focused on what the American people want us to do, and that's to come here and do our jobs," Sanders said.

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"General McMaster is a dedicated public servant, and he is here not focused on the news stories that many of you are writing, but on some really big issues: things like North Korea; things like Russia; things like Iran.

That's what he's doing, and that's what we're going to continue to be focused on every single day that we show up for work," she said.

McMaster told a ABC news that everybody has got to leave the White House at some point.

"I'm doing my job," he said.

Reports of McMaster's removal from the NSC have been gaining ground especially after Trump rebuked him last month on his statement that Moscow's interference in the 2016 election was "incontrovertible".

Trump recently used Twitter to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and moved to install his close ally CIA Director Mike Pompeo in the job.

On Wednesday, he named conservative TV analyst Larry Kudlow to replace his top economic adviser Gary Cohn, who quit over trade disagreements.

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First published: 17 March 2018, 13:40 IST
 
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