President Donald Trump denied once again that his new chief of staff, John Kelly, is making waves at the White House and he’s frustrated with him.
Trump says he ‘could not be happier or more impressed’ with Kelly, the retired four-star general he transferred from Homeland Security to the White House at the end of July.
The president lauded Kelly at an event Wednesday in Missouri as he spoke about a downswing in illegal border traffic. Secretly, he’s chafing at Kelly’s command structure, though, the Washington Post said in a report yesterday evening.
President Donald Trump denied once again that his new chief of staff, John Kelly, is making waves at the White House and he’s frustrated with him
The Post said the president longs for the pre-Kelly days when aides had unfettered access to him.
Trump respects the general who previously served as his Homeland Security secretary, but he’s struggling to adjust to the strict order Kelly introduced at 1600 Penn, aides and friends of the president indicated.
‘He’s having a very hard time,’ a friend who spoke to Trump just this week said. ‘He doesn’t like the way the media’s handling him. He doesn’t like how Kelly’s handling him. He’s turning on people that are very close to him.’
The president last week blasted ‘fake news’ on Twitter as he responded to a report in the New York Times that attested to tension with Kelly over his moves to turn the White House into a more professional environment.
‘General John Kelly is doing a fantastic job as Chief of Staff. There is tremendous spirit and talent in the W.H. Don’t believe the Fake News,’ Trump said in a tweet.
Trump came to Kelly’s defense again this morning after the Post delved into the details of recent flare ups between the president and his chief of staff.
‘General John Kelly is doing a great job as Chief of Staff. I could not be happier or more impressed – and this Administration continues to…..get things done at a record clip. Many big decisions to be made over the coming days and weeks. AMERICA FIRST!’ Trump said.
The Post said Trump roared at Kelly after he found out that a group of his Border Patrol buddies has initially been prevented from entering his Yuma, Arizona, event.
When Trump name-checked Kelly later that evening in Phoenix, attempting to bring his chief of staff to the stage, the general did not appear.
‘Where’s John?’ Trump had asked. ‘Where is he? Where’s General Kelly? Get him out here. He’s great. He’s doing a great job.’
It’s not clear where Kelly was at the time, but the Post insinuated that he was off brooding.
The article, which was based on 15 interview with White House officials and friends of the president, present two differing portraits of Kelly.
Senior officials say they’re glad he’s Trump’s friends, some of whom they consider hangers-on, at bay, unless they have an official appointment to see the president and a clear reason for being in the Oval Office.
People who’ve lost their direct access to Trump complained that Kelly is cramping the president’s style and Trump doesn’t like it.
The president was also said to be upset with Gary Cohn, his chief economic adviser, over his claims in an interview that he was under pressure to resign after Trump blamed ‘both sides’ for the violence in Charlottesville. Kelly and Cohn are seen on Wednesday at the White House
Kelly’s arrival led to the latest in a string of staff shake ups at the White House. Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was the first to go. Then Anthony Scaramucci, the short-lived communications director in waiting, followed by Steve Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist who had been with him since last year’s campaign.
A personnel review that’s under way could lead to even more changes. People who talked to the Post suggested Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could be next.
Tillerson distanced himself from the president’s remarks on Charlottesville during a Fox News interview last Sunday. He lunched with the president on Monday, though, and appeared to be in a bright mood during Trump’s news conference, where he sat in the front row, later that afternoon.
The president was also said to be upset with Gary Cohn, his chief economic adviser, over his claims in an interview that he was under pressure to resign after Trump blamed ‘both sides’ for the violence in Charlottesville.
Cohn told CNBC this morning, though, that he and Trump have a ‘great relationship.’