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behind the scenes drama

Friends, advisers say Trump feels restricted by Kelly

To most people he's a decorated former Marine Corps general, but those closest to President Trump see White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as "The Church Lady," The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The Post spoke with more than a dozen senior White House officials and Trump friends and advisers for their look at Trump's relationship with Kelly, who accepted his new position about a month ago so he could bring discipline and order to the Oval Office. This new regime reportedly irks Trump, who misses having his friends call him directly (now, their calls go through Kelly, and don't necessarily get passed along to the president) and their spontaneous White House visits (they must have a meeting scheduled and a purpose for being there).

One Trump friend told the Post that the president is "having a very hard time" and "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." Other loyalists agree, and that's why they dubbed Kelly "The Church Lady" — they think he's too strict and feels superior to others. When Kelly's not around, Trump sneaks calls to friends — like former chief strategist Stephen Bannon — on his personal phone, and that's not surprising, friend and former adviser Roger Stone said. Trump "resists being handled," Stone told the Post, and Kelly is attempting to treat him "like a mushroom. Keeping him in the dark and feeding him s--t is not going to work. Donald Trump is a free spirit."

For his part, Kelly is not trying to tell Trump what to do, say, or tweet, White House officials said, and he understands that it's really up to the president to control himself. Read the entire fascinating story — and find out who else Trump is mad at — at The Washington Post.