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Story highlights

"I support him," Priebus told CNN

He also added, "I'm not going to get into that personal stuff"

(CNN) —  

President Donald Trump’s former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said in his first interview since it was announced he would leave his role that Trump “wanted to go a different direction.”

“Look, the President wanted to go a different direction. I support him in that,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.”

“I’m doing great,” Priebus said. “I’ve been obviously talking to the President for a few days about this. … the President was great.”

Trump replaced Priebus on Friday with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, an explosive move that ends a turbulent six-month tenure.

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When pressed by Blitzer on why he resigned from the role, Priebus responded, “I’m not going to get into that personal stuff.”

“General Kelly is a brilliant pick. … We’ll be working on a transition,” he said. “It’s not like it’s a situation where there’s a lot of ill feelings. I think this is good for the President.”

Trump made the announcement on Twitter just after landing on Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington.

“I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff. He is a Great American… and a Great Leader. John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration,” Trump tweeted.

Throughout the interview, Priebus defended Trump and his decision to resign, saying that it was a mutual decision between himself and the President.

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“Anytime either one of us think that we need to make a change or move in a different direction, let’s just talk about it and get it done,” he said of his relationship with the President. “He has the best political instincts.”

Priebus also said his views on Trump haven’t changed, adding he’s still a fan of the President.

“I’m going to honor the President every day,” he said, repeatedly adding, “I’m not going to get into this personal stuff.”

Speaking earlier in New York, Trump offered effusive praise for Kelly, though he didn’t hint he would soon be working from the West Wing.

“John Kelly is one of our great stars,” Trump declared.

Priebus also added that “bringing in a fresh face” is a good thing.

“I think bringing in a fresh face, I think bringing in fresh people, is a good thing,” he said. “As for John Kelly, I know he’s going to be great.”

CNN’s Peter Grieve and Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.