Trump defends chief of staff John Kelly after report says they may be on a 'collision course'

Colin Campbell
Editor
President Trump talks with new White House chief of staff John Kelly after he was privately sworn in during a ceremony in the Oval Office, Monday, July 31, 2017. (Photo: Evan Vucci/AP)

President Trump on Friday defended his recently installed chief of staff, John Kelly, after a new report described Trump as chafing amid new efforts to control the West Wing.

“General John Kelly is doing a great job as Chief of Staff,” Trump tweeted. “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 was apparently responding to a report in the Washington Post that cited 15 mostly anonymous sources to conclude that the president was bristling at the new White House regime. The report said some of Trump’s friends “fear that the short-tempered president is on an inevitable collision course” with Kelly.

“He’s having a very hard time,” a Trump friend told the Post. “He doesn’t like the way the media’s handling him. He doesn’t like how Kelly’s handling him.”

Among Trump’s complaints about Kelly, the report said, are the chief of staff’s efforts to restrict access to the Oval Office: “They run counter to Trump’s love of spontaneity and brashness, prompting some Trump loyalists to derisively dub Kelly ‘the church lady’ because they consider him strict and morally superior.”

Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general and Trump’s onetime secretary of Homeland Security, replaced former chief of staff Reince Priebus in July. The shakeup, one of many in the Trump White House, came after the president failed to achieve a major legislative victory in his first six months — despite Republican control of Congress.

The tumultuous White House has also seen the departure of, among others, press secretary Sean Spicer, chief strategist Steve Bannon, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and two communications directors, notably the colorful Anthony Scaramucci.

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