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DHS leader leaving for White House chief of staff post

Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly will leave his cabinet post to become White House chief of staff, replacing Reince Priebus.

President Donald Trump announced the leadership change via Twitter on Friday and said that Kelly, a retired Marine general, was taking over the position and replacing Priebus.

Trump said that Kelly has done a "spectacular job at Homeland Security."

"He has been a true star of my administration," Trump wrote. 

Trump thanked Priebus for his "service and dedication to his country."

"We accomplished a lot together and I am proud of him!," Trump wrote.

Priebus was ousted the day after Trump's promise to repeal Obamacare ran aground in the U.S. Senate, and just after the new White House communications director, Anthony Scarmucci, told a reporter for the New Yorker — in a bizarre profanity-laden interview — that he wanted Priebus to be fired.

In an email, Kelly wrote that he was honored to serve in the White House.

"I have been fortunate to have served my country for more than 45 years—first as a Marine and then as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. I am honored to be asked to serve as the chief of staff to the president of the United States," Kelly wrote.

"To the tremendous men and women of DHS, I thank you for the opportunity to serve as your secretary. When I left the Marines, I never thought I would find as committed, as professional, as patriotic a group of individuals. I was wrong. You accomplish great things everyday defending our nation and I know your exceptional work will continue," Kelly wrote.

Kelly will remain at DHS until July 31, said Dave Lapan, press secretary for DHS. Kelly will be replaced by Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke, who will serve as acting secretary for the agency, said Lapan. 

TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

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DHS

DHS Sec. John Kelly speaks to a House Committee in February.