SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

Kelly denies report he called Trump an idiot

White House chief of staff John Kelly personally denied calling President Donald Trump an "idiot" in an afternoon conversation with the commander in chief, relaying nearly the same statement in his face-to-face talk with the President as the one he released publicly, according to an administration official.

Posted: May 1, 2018 7:12 PM
Updated: May 1, 2018 7:25 PM

White House chief of staff John Kelly personally denied calling President Donald Trump an "idiot" in an afternoon conversation with the commander in chief, relaying nearly the same statement in his face-to-face talk with the President as the one he released publicly, according to an administration official.

An NBC report published Monday claimed, among other things, that Kelly had said during an immigration-related meeting that he needed to "save (Trump) from himself" while insulting the President's intelligence by calling him an "idiot."

"I spend more time with the President than anyone else and we have an incredibly candid and strong relationship. He always knows where I stand and he and I both know this story is total BS," Kelly said in a statement. "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."

Trump tweeted his own denial as well, calling the stories "false."

The situation is similar to when reports surfaced that then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a "moron."

But the White House official pointed out a big difference between the Kelly incident and Tillerson -- Kelly immediately denied the report and denounced it to the President's face. Tillerson declined to do so, simply saying he wouldn't play that Washington game.

Tensions brewing

Tensions between Kelly and Trump have been brewing for weeks if not months. Another White House official said the tensions don't seem any more urgent or dramatic now, but acknowledged that this could accelerate Kelly's departure.

"The President hates reading these stories," an official said. "He hates it."

Officials have long believed it's just a matter of when, rather than if, Kelly would be fired or pushed aside. The report on Monday capped off weeks of what sources have described as a growing disconnect between Kelly and Trump.

Some have pointed to a controversy earlier this year over former staff secretary Rob Porter, who was ousted amid a scandal involving allegations that he abused two ex-wives, as a turning point in terms of Kelly's influence.

One source familiar with the situation said Trump was rankled by the way Kelly handled the Porter situation; the chief of staff initially attempted to defend Porter against the allegation until a photograph of Porter's ex-wife's blackened eye surfaced and sparked outrage.

'Unhinged'

Multiple sources have told CNN that Trump is increasingly frustrated with Kelly, and a senior administration official said Monday that the feeling goes both ways.

Kelly told senior national security officials in what appeared to be a "moment of frustration" in the last month that he believed the President was becoming "unhinged," according to the senior administration official.

Kelly referred to Trump as "unhinged" during a meeting with the Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford and senior National Security Council officials, the senior administration official added.

Kelly's comment came as the officials deliberated on the future of the US effort in Syria, following Trump's off-the-cuff comments saying he was determined to get US troops out of the country.

In another example of Kelly being unhappy, one official said Kelly used "salty language" about Trump when Trump wasn't thrilled with picking Kirstjen Nielsen to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

Another senior administration official said while Trump and his chief of staff have had disagreements, Kelly has never used that kind of language to criticize Trump.

"I don't think anybody is surprised that he and the President have had disagreements in the past," the official said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 608519

Reported Deaths: 9693
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion840461335
Lake45349684
Allen32803548
Hamilton29394315
St. Joseph27380381
Elkhart24404345
Vanderburgh19411249
Tippecanoe17970138
Johnson15069295
Porter14783169
Hendricks14401248
Madison10965221
Vigo10726181
Clark10677144
Monroe9383110
Delaware9116134
LaPorte9065163
Howard8236144
Kosciusko806983
Warrick672999
Hancock6697104
Bartholomew6484100
Floyd6428110
Wayne6136162
Grant5991115
Dubois555579
Boone551168
Morgan541295
Henry507864
Marshall503984
Cass483263
Dearborn479845
Noble473059
Jackson425047
Shelby417581
Lawrence391079
Clinton373043
Gibson370359
Harrison348144
DeKalb347164
Montgomery345754
Knox335639
Miami321444
Steuben313745
Whitley307326
Wabash303251
Adams300936
Ripley298445
Putnam296850
Huntington291659
Jasper289034
White273243
Daviess270474
Jefferson263338
Decatur247683
Fayette247148
Greene239862
Posey239328
Wells236051
LaGrange228862
Scott225339
Clay222532
Randolph213548
Jennings198936
Sullivan192333
Spencer191321
Washington186423
Fountain184027
Starke175443
Jay167623
Owen165737
Fulton164030
Orange159534
Carroll158015
Rush155118
Perry154229
Vermillion149134
Franklin148333
Tipton132332
Parke13078
Pike116926
Blackford111022
Pulaski97037
Newton90921
Brown88035
Benton86610
Crawford7999
Martin73713
Warren6817
Switzerland6615
Union6287
Ohio4907
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 859841

Reported Deaths: 10680
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101171707
Cuyahoga855711125
Hamilton64017448
Montgomery43107418
Summit34836761
Lucas31350625
Butler30973232
Stark25786435
Warren19671140
Lorain19017223
Mahoning17321338
Lake16080154
Clermont15926111
Delaware1438878
Licking13204137
Trumbull12809316
Fairfield1279381
Greene12055137
Medina11591168
Clark10942265
Wood10348158
Allen9897126
Portage9296109
Miami916873
Richland9139118
Marion7459113
Tuscarawas7381182
Columbiana7327124
Pickaway726150
Wayne7034171
Muskingum703141
Erie6152129
Hancock552390
Ross548998
Scioto539164
Geauga508455
Darke470292
Ashtabula453073
Lawrence452654
Union451828
Sandusky436662
Mercer433589
Seneca430166
Huron428741
Auglaize422264
Shelby421222
Jefferson419269
Belmont416840
Washington388740
Athens38009
Putnam374975
Madison355129
Knox352622
Ashland344938
Fulton338443
Defiance330086
Crawford322374
Preble320637
Brown312921
Logan307332
Ottawa293943
Clinton290143
Williams278667
Highland275118
Jackson263845
Guernsey254125
Champaign252028
Fayette236530
Morrow23234
Perry231318
Holmes225474
Henry218749
Hardin213033
Coshocton205622
Van Wert202245
Gallia196726
Wyandot196051
Pike176217
Adams176115
Hocking172024
Carroll155616
Paulding144321
Noble120540
Meigs108624
Monroe100732
Harrison89121
Morgan83130
Vinton70213
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 26°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
19° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 19°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 28°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 26°
Lima
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 24°
Dry start to Monday, snow/freezing rain moves in late
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events