White House chief of staff John Kelly said Monday that a report that he called President Donald Trump an idiot is "total BS."
Kelly, in a statement, said he and Trump have "an incredibly candid and strong relationship."
He added, "He always knows where I stand and he and I both know this story is total BS.".
NBC News reported Monday that Kelly, who joined Trump's White House last July, could depart this summer after he has been there for a year.
Trump "doesn't even understand what DACA is. He's an idiot," Kelly is quoted as saying during a meeting with White House officials about immigration. "We've got to save him from himself."
The report claims Kelly has insulted Trump's intelligence during conversations with aides in the West Wing and he casts himself as someone who has saved the country from harm by stopping some of the things Trump has attempted to do.
One example given is an alleged conversation that took place between Trump and Kelly before the Winter Olympics earlier this year. Kelly, NBC reported, convinced Trump not to withdraw the U.S. troops stationed on the Korean peninsula.
NBC also claimed Kelly has said women are more emotional than men, and he has talked poorly about Trump and his political and policy knowledge during meetings with lawmakers.
Kelly's alleged comments and actions are starting to wear on both Trump and other West Wing officials, NBC reported.
"He says stuff you can't believe," a senior White House official told NBC. "He'll say it and you think, 'That is not what you should be saying.'"
Here is Kelly's complete statement on the NBC report:
"I spend more time with the president than anyone else, and we have an incredibly candid and strong relationship," Kelly said. He always knows where I stand, and he and I both know this story is total B.S.
"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 himself tweeted what appeared to be a reference to the story, accusing "Fake News" media of "going crazy making up false stories and using only unnamed sources (who don’t exist)."
Reports over the last several months have painted a picture that is not always rosy between Trump and Kelly, with Trump reportedly growing frustrated with the tighter rules Kelly has instituted. For example, it has been reported Kelly ended the open-door policy Trump had in the first half of last year, with Kelly holding close control of who is allowed to see Trump and what information he is given.
Kelly came under fire in February regarding the Rob Porter scandal. A West Wing aide, Porter was accused of domestic violence by his two ex-wives and his dismissal was clouded with confusion and conflicting reports about how Kelly handled it.
Kelly and Trump reportedly had an argument in the Oval Office last month that resulted in Kelly threatening to quit, it was reported in early April.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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