Will this finally be the nail in John Kelly’s coffin?
The White House chief of staff, who has reportedly been marginalized within the Trump administration in recent weeks, has reportedly been telling staffers and aides that he is the “savior” of the country because he’s keeping the president in check. And, on top of that, he’s been insulting President Donald Trump’s intelligence, per a new NBC News report.
“The officials said Kelly portrays himself to Trump administration aides as the lone bulwark against catastrophe, curbing the erratic urges of a president who has a questionable grasp on policy issues and the functions of government. He has referred to Trump as “an idiot” multiple times to underscore his point, according to four officials who say they’ve witnessed the comments.
Three White House spokespeople said they don’t believe it’s accurate that Kelly called the president an “idiot,” adding that none of them has ever heard him do that or otherwise use that word.”
The officials told NBC News that Kelly’s has created an environment that has brought down morale in the White House and that the president is aware of some of the comments the retired four-star general has made.
While Kelly calling Trump dumb is going to be the big takeaway here — and the one that could cook his goose — there are other remarks the former DHS secretary has reportedly made that also paint a pretty awful picture of Kelly. The chief of staff has told staffers that “women are more emotional than men” and did that at least once in front of Trump. Furthermore, NBC News also reported on what Kelly had to say about the Rob Porter scandal:
“And during a firestorm in February over accusations of domestic abuse against then-White House staff secretary Rob Porter, Kelly wondered aloud how much more Porter would have to endure before his honor could be restored, according to three officials who were present for the comments. He also questioned why Porter’s ex-wives wouldn’t just move on based on the information he said he had about his marriages, the officials said.”
Officials told NBC News that they expect Kelly to leave once he hits his one-year mark in July. But following this story, will he make it that long?
Shortly after NBC published its report, Kelly provided a statement claiming the story “is total BS” and that it is “another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump.”
"… I am committed to the President, his agenda, and our country. This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration’s many successes.”
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) April 30, 2018