- The Washington Times - Friday, July 28, 2017

Outgoing White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus refused to get into the chaos around his resignation Friday, but said he continues to support President Trump.

“I have a very close relationship with the president. I’m going to continue to have good relationship with president,” Mr. Priebus said to CNN in his first interview since the announcement was made.

“I think [Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly] is a great pick,” he said.

When asked about White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci’s comments about him, including referring to Mr. Priebus as a “paranoid schizophrenic,” Mr. Priebus said didn’t want to “get into the mud.”

“I’m not going to get into the mud on these sorts of things,” he said. “It doesn’t honor the president.”

Mr. Priebus clarified that he resigned Thursday after talking with Mr. Trump about it repeatedly.

“I resigned and he accepted it. We talked about it. We talk all the time about this subject,” Mr. Priebus said.

“We talked about a few different people together. He thought John Kelly would be the number one pick and I thought it was a fantastic choice. I look forward to working with him,” he added.

When asked about the fate of White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who Mr. Scaramucci also criticized in a vulgar comment, Mr. Priebus said that would be up to Mr. Kelly, but called Mr. Bannon a “dear friend.”

“That’s up to John Kelly, but I will say Steve is doing a great job. He’s a brilliant guy who only thinks about president’s agenda. He thinks about it 24 hours a day,” he said.

As for what Mr. Priebus will do next he said he plans to take a vacation, but clarified he will not be ambassador to Greece, which had been rumored as a possibility.

“No, that’s not going to happen,” he said.

Mr. Priebus said his greatest disappointment was the failure of the Republican health care bill and said that he will continue to be part of that fight.

“I don’t think it’s over yet. I’m hopeful the Republicans can come together before reconciliation is over. I wish them well to do it and I’ll be part of trying to help make that happen if I can. I’ll always be on the team,” he said.

• Sally Persons can be reached at spersons@washingtontimes.com.

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