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John Kelly backtracks after saying that he runs the country

Allan Smith
John Kelly

(John Kelly.Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
White House chief of staff John Kelly made a rare appearance at Thursday's White House press briefing, during which he insisted that he was not quitting or getting fired from his job.

He also said that running the US is "really, really hard work," before quickly asserting that he does not run the country. 

"This is really, really hard work, running the United States of America," Kelly said, quickly adding, "I don't run it."

"I'm working for someone who is dedicated to serving the country in a way he's talked about over the years," he then said of President Donald Trump.

Kelly criticized the press for some of its reporting on him, Trump, and the administration as a whole. He began his comments by insisting that he was "not quitting today" and said, "I just talked to the president and I don't believe I'm being fired today, and I am not so frustrated in this job that I'm thinking of leaving."

Kelly, the former secretary of Homeland Security, called his current job the "hardest" and "most important" he's "ever had."

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