John Kelly, White House chief of staff, listens as U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, speaks during a meeting with senior military leadership in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, April 9, 2018.
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May 11, 2018 8:55 AM EDT

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said in a new interview that he’s never considered quitting his post, despite longtime speculation over how long he will remain as a top adviser to President Donald Trump

Kelly told NPR that he and Trump have a “close relationship,” often spending up to eight hours each day together. Kelly said he tries to “speak truth to power.”

“I always give my opinion on everything. He always listens,” Kelly said. “Sometimes he takes the opinion, sometimes he doesn’t.”

Kelly rebuffed questions over whether he had seriously thought about leaving the White House, though he acknowledged “times of great frustration,” which he mostly attributed to news coverage of him and his colleagues.

In fact, Kelly said he wished he could have started his White House job sooner than last July, when Trump announced he would replace former chief of staff Reince Priebus.

“It’s not that things were a disaster that first six months but I believe they could have been better,” he said. “In retrospect, I wish I had been here from day one.”

 

Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com.

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