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President Donald Trump has responded to a Washington Post report that said his friends “fear” that he “is on an inevitable collision course with” his chief of staff, John Kelly.
“General John Kelly is doing a great job as Chief of Staff,” Trump tweeted in the first post of a two-part message on Friday morning. “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!”
The Post, citing several unnamed sources close to the president, said Trump “chafes at some of the retired Marine Corps general’s moves to restrict access to him since he took the job almost a month ago.” It continued: “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.”
One Trump friend told the publication that the president was “having a very hard time” with how he was being handled by both Kelly and the media.
“He doesn’t like the way the media’s handling him,” the friend, who The Post said spoke with Trump this week, told the newspaper of the president. “He doesn’t like how Kelly’s handling him. He’s turning on people that are very close to him.”
Since taking over as chief of staff from Reince Priebus a few weeks ago, Kelly has moved to put tighter controls on both who has access to the president and what information makes it to the president’s desk.
As The Post said, Trump’s friends were previously able to simply call the White House and get put in direct contact with Trump. Now, all of those calls must go through Kelly first. Friends also used to visit Trump in the Oval Office seemingly on a whim, but now they must have an “official appointment” and a “clear reason” to visit, according to The Post.
But insiders told The Post that Trump would sometimes defy the new rules and continued to call friends and advisers such as his recently ousted chief strategist, Steve Bannon, when Kelly was not present.
Friday marked the second time Trump used Twitter to deny any tensions with Kelly.
Trump posted a similar message last week.
“General John Kelly is doing a fantastic job as Chief of Staff,” Trump wrote. “There is tremendous spirit and talent in the W.H. Don’t believe the Fake News.”