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John Kelly jokes he didn’t want to leave Homeland Security, but ‘God punished me’

‘I did something wrong and God punished me’: John Kelly jokes about tenure in White House
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly assessed his time with the Trump administration, offering a tongue-in-cheek joke: "I did something wrong and God punished me."

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly cracked a few jokes about leaving his former role with the Department of Homeland Security during an anniversary event on Thursday.

Kelly made the comment while on stage during a 15th-anniversary event for the DHS, saying that he still missed “every one” of the employees “every day.”

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“Truly six months — the last thing I wanted to do was walk away from one of the greatest honours of my life, being Secretary of Homeland Security, but I did something wrong and God punished me, I guess,” Kelly, a four-star Marine general, commented during the event.

Kelly began his role as Secretary of Homeland Security in July, but was forced to leave just six months later when he was appointed to replace Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff. There has been speculation at times since Kelly’s taken on the role that he would be fired or replaced, but told CNN during the event that things at the White House were “pretty good.”

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He received a rousing round of applause as he sat for the panel, where he was asked if he had any regrets.

“I wish I had worked harder in the six months I had the job to … not only protect the men and women that get beat up so badly every day but to really advertise in a much more effective way how good you are,” Kelly said.

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“You take the face shots every single day from people who don’t have a clue what they’re talking about or have an agenda against you. I did the best I could,” Kelly added.

When Kelly took over the Chief of Staff position, he was widely considered to be the reasonable voice the White House needed, and Trump has consistently sung his praises for doing a “fantastic job.”