President Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, who has attempted to bring order to a chaotic West Wing, joked Thursday that he is not sure what he did to wind up in his current position.
At an event marking the 15th anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security, Kelly said, “The last thing I wanted to do was walk away from one of the great honors of my life, being the secretary of homeland security, but I did something wrong and God punished me, I guess.”
Kelly, appearing on stage with two other former DHS secretaries and the current holder of the position, Kirstjen Nielsen, drew laughs when he said he had “no right” to be on stage with them. Kelly told the audience of DHS staffers that he missed them “every day.”
Kelly was Trump’s first homeland security secretary and remained in the job for six months before Trump tapped him to replace Reince Priebus at the White House.
Kelly has been under intense scrutiny following revelations that former White House staff secretary Rob Porter had been granted an interim security clearance even though a background check revealed domestic abuse allegations by Porter’s two ex-wives — allegations which Porter has denied.