Tags: Trump Administration | White House chief of staff John Kelly | President Donald Trump | Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

CNN: Kelly's Days May Be Numbered Along With Tillerson's

Image: CNN: Kelly's Days May Be Numbered Along With Tillerson's
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (AP)

By    |   Friday, 06 Oct 2017 09:09 PM

White House chief of staff John Kelly's time in the Trump administration be limited amid the fallout over reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson threatened to resign in July and disparaged President Donald Trump, CNN reported Friday.

"Every day for John Kelly ends in 'why?'" a source close to Trump told CNN. "Every day is tense."

The Tillerson situation began Wednesday after NBC News reported that he had threatened to resign in July and had called the president a "moron" at a national security meeting.

The secretary of State strongly denied that he considered quitting, though he refused to say whether he had disparaged the president — calling the question "petty nonsense."

"My commitment to the success of our president and our country is as strong as it was the day I accepted his offer to serve as secretary of State," Tillerson said at the news conference.

A State Department spokeswoman later denied that Tillerson had used the word to describe Trump.

But the debacle found Kelly, 67, a retired Marine Corps general, having to navigate between Trump and his top diplomat, CNN reported Friday.

"Kelly suggested to the president in a nuanced way that if Secretary of State Rex Tillerson left, the retired general's own ability to do his job properly could be at risk," CNN reported, citing "sources familiar with the conversation."

The White House did not respond to a request seeking comment.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Friday that Trump "absolutely" had confidence in Kelly.

"There's no question there's friction in how Kelly approaches how the White House should run and how Trump approaches it," former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told CNN.

Panetta also served as White House chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton and worked closely with Kelly when he was at the Pentagon.

"It does make sense to me that John Kelly would try to prevent additional disruption from occurring," Panetta said.

According to CNN, Kelly was not pleased when the dust-up between Trump and Tillerson became public.

Kelly told Trump "respectfully" in a meeting at the White House Wednesday that he needed to "pull back" from his attacks on Tillerson, a source told CNN.

The chief of staff had advised Trump to "cool it," according to the report. "They all needed to cool it."

Kelly also remained at the White House when Trump visited Las Vegas to meet with victims of Sunday's shooting rampage to try to "manage" the Tillerson situation, CNN said, citing "multiple sources."

He summoned Tillerson and their ally, Defense Secretary James Mattis, to the White House for a meeting on how to move forward, NBC News reported Thursday, citing "three administration officials."

Trump named Kelly chief of staff in July, following the resignation of Reince Priebus, and he has been credited publicly for using his military style to remove several aides and to impose some order in the West Wing.

However, those accolades do not necessarily endear him with Trump, CNN reported.

"When he gets credit for being the master, Trump doesn't like that," one source told the cable network. "Trump doesn't like being handed a script."

Another person close to Trump described the dynamic between the men as "formal" as each seeks to test the other's "trust barriers."

"Reince was more reactionary," one House Republican told CNN, noting that Trump's activities have become more cogent since Kelly became chief of staff.

"But it's a tough job," the person added. "You're not going to change the president."

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White House chief of staff John Kelly's time in the Trump administration be limited amid the fallout over reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson threatened to resign in July and disparaged President Donald Trump, CNN reported Friday."Every day for John Kelly ends in...
White House chief of staff John Kelly, President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
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2017-09-06
Friday, 06 Oct 2017 09:09 PM
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