President Donald Trump separated from the White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, on Friday, replacing him with conservative legislator and close ally Mark Meadows, who was a strong Trump defender during the impeachment campaign.
Representative Meadows takes command as the White House struggles to spread a consistent message about the coronavirus crisis and Trump gets into a bloody reelection competition.
He will become the fourth chief of staff in Trump's three-year term to clear the chaotic presidency.
Meadows is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina and was a combative defender of the president during the impeachment saga, so Trump honored him for his praise at an event on February 6 after the Republican-led Senate acquitted the president.
"He is an incredibly talented man, not just a politician. He is incredible as a person," Trump said at the time.
Trump named Mulvaney his special U.S. envoy to Northern Ireland as he prepares to welcome Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to St. Patrick's Day ceremonies in Washington later this month.
A former senior government official said the change had been in the works for a long time and was a "closed deal" some time ago.
Trump announced the move on Friday night, shortly after arriving at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is spending the weekend.
"I am pleased to announce that Congressman Mark Meadows will become the White House chief of staff. I have known and worked with Mark for a long time. The relationship is very good," Trump said on Twitter.
"I would like to thank acting chief Mick Mulvaney for serving the administration so well. He will become the United States Special Representative for Northern Ireland. Thank you!" Trump said.
Trump had long muttered about Mulvaney, who angered the president last fall when he said at a White House press conference that Trump was trying to convince Ukraine to investigate democratic rival Joe Biden by asking US aid for Ukraine held back.
What Mulvaney said contradicted the argument that Trump was advancing – that there was no "return" with Ukraine. Mulvaney quickly returned the statement, but the damage was done.
Mulvaney, a conservative former South Carolina legislator, served as chief of staff for more than a year after replacing retired General John Kelly, who had succeeded Reince Priebus.
A source familiar with the situation said both Mulvaney and Meadows had flown to North Carolina with Trump on Air Force One on Monday, and there was little warmth between the two men. Trump has not spoken to Mulvaney, the source said.
Meadows announced in December that he would not run for reelection in his North Carolina district this year.
"This has been the most orchestrated personnel change to date. Since the deal with Northern Ireland was announced at the same time, it was clearly a mutual decision," said Sean Spicer, Trump's former White House press secretary.
Spicer said Meadows has a clear understanding of Trump's style and agenda.
Meadows chaired the conservative House Freedom Caucus from 2017 to 2019.
Mulvaney was appointed Acting Chief of Staff in December 2018, and Trump never made the appointment permanent.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)