White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has repeatedly called President Trump "an idiot" in recent months, and seeks to paint himself as a heroically balancing force in the West Wing, NBC News reported Monday.
Eight current and former White House officials told NBC News that Kelly's relationship with Trump has deteriorated, and Kelly has reportedly implied that he is the only one keeping the administration from collapse. Colleagues say that Kelly frequently says things like "I'm the one saving the country." Officials predict that Kelly will leave the White House by July, the one-year mark of his time in office. Three White House representatives told NBC News that they did not believe reports that Kelly called Trump an "idiot."
He has additionally made disparaging comments about women, sources said. Staffers said that Kelly on multiple occasions said that women were more emotional than men, and that he once questioned why former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter's ex-wives couldn't "move on" from their allegations of abuse. When Porter eventually resigned over the allegations, Kelly reportedly sympathized with his plight in private but urged staffers to publicly say that he had pushed Porter out.
In conversations with other lawmakers, Kelly has reportedly poked fun at Trump for his lack of knowledge regarding policy and government. "We've got to save him from himself," Kelly reportedly said of Trump. "He's an idiot." Kelly disputed the report in a statement, saying it was "total BS" and that his relationship with Trump remains strong.
Read more at NBC News.