Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday defended Bill Daley's resignation, telling reporters his successor "can walk out of the White House with his head held high for a job well done."
Daley, brother of former Mayor Richard Daley, said he stepped down this week to move back to Chicago and spend more time with family.
"It's a grinding job," Emanuel said at an unrelated press conference. "It's exciting, but basically every problem before it gets to the Oval Office sits at that desk."
Emanuel, who stepped down as chief of staff in 2010 to run for Chicago mayor, called the position "the toughest job in America." He said the position's historic average for keeping employees is about 18 months.
"I lasted past the 18 months, Bill didn't," Emanuel said. "Some last ... years."
Daley in the past has criticized Emanuel for creating lasting friction in the West Wing that made it difficult for him to operate. But Emanuel stood in Daley's corner Tuesday, and in answer to repeated questions, Rahm would only praise him.
"I think Bill did a good job for the President because he did the most important things, he served him loyally and had his back."
He said the two scheduled dinner when Daley returns home at the end of the month.
Daley told NBCChicago Monday he would co-chair the President's 2012 campaign in Chicago.
“I made a commitment to the president through his re-election," Daley said, "which I’m confident he will do, and then my wife and I will be back in Chicago."