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John Kelly's comment about God punishing him with chief of staff job aggravated Trump

Sources: Hope Hicks exit a win for John Kelly
Hope Hicks exit seen as a win for John Kelly, sources say 04:27

White House chief of staff John Kelly's comment that God punished him when he left the Department of Homeland Security for the West Wing aggravated President Trump and was not well received, CBS News' chief White House correspondent Major Garrett reports. 

Kelly made the remark, in a joking fashion, Thursday morning at at an event marking the 15th anniversary of his old department, DHS. 

"I miss every one of you every day," Kelly said, rolling his eyes as the audience laughed. "Truly, six months, the last thing I wanted to do was walk away from one of the great honors of my life — being the secretary of homeland security — but I did something wrong, and God punished me, I guess."

More laughter ensued from the audience.

But the president did not take the joke so well. Mr. Trump, Garrett reports, believes he gave Kelly a lot of power when he arrived, and thinks Kelly should remember and appreciate that — not suggest he was cursed. 

Kelly has been in a tough position in recent weeks, managing a White House facing turnover and shifting policy positions from the president. He faced scrutiny for the handling of Rob Porter, the ex-aide who was accused of abusing his ex-wives but operated on an interim security clearance in close proximity to the president for a year. Kelly now faces other staffing challenges, with the impending departure of Hope Hicks, one of Mr. Trump's most trusted allies who has served as the White House communications director. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster's job is also in jeopardy, Garrett reports. Sources tell Garrett an exit strategy may be in the works

Meanwhile, the president's announcement that he will impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports Thursday surprised many in the White House. The announcement temporarily halted conversations about gun reforms, which have been a focus in the White House since the Parkland shooting. 

Kelly became White House chief of staff last summer, after the departure of Reince Priebus from that post. 

— CBS News' Kathryn Watson contributed to this report. 

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