Though a White House spokesperson claimed at the time that Trump had given Kelly a formal job offer in advance, it was a lie.
Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general who served as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security during the first months of 2017, took over from former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus last July.
Kelly has acknowledged that his tenure could end with a single presidential tweet but, keenly aware of his own public perception, has suggested that he believes he can leave a lasting mark on the post and rehabilitate his reputation, one of the White House officials said. The Washington Post and CNN, also citing unnamed officials, confirmed the news.
The news comes after months of speculation about whether Kelly would be leaving the administration.
The news - first reported by the The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday - comes after a few months of improved relations between Kelly and Trump, who has by most accounts resisted the more disciplined approach his top aide meant to impose in the West Wing. But it is unclear if his departure is imminent and whom Trump might pick to replace him.
Kelly is telling staffers that he had agreed to stay on.
He writes: "Congratulations to General John Kelly".
At a separate meeting with Cabinet-level communications staff, a senior administration official said Kelly voiced his intention to stay on in the role for far longer - through 2024 - should the president be elected to a second term. But he added: "Look, at some point, things happen but I will tell you. we have a very good relationship".