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Trump says eying up to five changes in senior staff
[WASHINGTON] US President Donald Trump is thinking of replacing up to five senior advisers but insists that his administration is "running like a well-oiled machine," according to an interview aired on Sunday.
"I have three or four or five positions that I'm thinking about," he told "Fox News Sunday" interviewer Chris Wallace.
"Maybe it's going to end up being two. But I need flexibility."
Denying recurrent reports of a White House in turmoil - with pressure growing from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election - he said that some staff turnover was normal.
He declined, however, to repeat an earlier assurance that John Kelly would remain his chief of staff through 2020.
"There are certain things I love what he does and certain things I don't like that he does. At that aren't his strength," he said, referring to Mr Kelly.
While crediting Kelly with "doing an excellent job in many ways," Trump said that "at some point he's going to want to move on. John will move on."
He also said that "there's a chance" that Kirstjen Nielsen might be replaced as homeland security secretary.
"I like her very much, I respect her very much," he said, before adding, "I would like her to be much tougher on the border (with Mexico). Much tougher."
Mr Trump also defended the decision on Wednesday by the office of his wife Melania to issue a highly unusual statement suggesting that deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel be replaced. Ms Ricardel left that post the following day for assignment to an unspecified new position.
The First Lady was reportedly peeved with Ms Ricardel's involvement in her recent Africa trip.
"I thought it was fine," the president said of his wife's intervention, adding of Ms Ricardel, "She was with me for a long time, although I don't know her."
The Fox interview was recorded on Friday.