President Donald Trump called his former White House chief of staff to complain about his current chief of staff this week, The New York Times reported Thursday.
According to sources close with Trump, Trump called Reince Priebus, who he pushed out to hire his current Chief of Staff John Kelly, to “confide grievances” over Kelly’s negative headlines this past week, according to the Times’ reporting. Priebus denied that the phone call occurred.
Kelly first came under fire this week for comments he made about the undocumented immigrants who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, some of whom he said are “too lazy” to sign up.
“(Some of them) were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn’t sign up,” he told reporters Tuesday while discussing the White House’s immigration proposal on Capitol Hill.
The negative headlines continued Wednesday when Kelly released an initial statement of support for White House aide Rob Porter after Porter’s ex-wives’ allegations of patterns of domestic abuse became public. Kelly later corrected his original defense of Porter and called the allegations “shocking,” but the clean-up fell on deaf ears after it was reported that Kelly already knew about at least some of the abuse allegations. Porter’s background clearance check was stalled because both of his ex-wives told the FBI about their accusations of domestic violence.
White House spokesperson Raj Shah indicated Thursday that Kelly was unaware of the totality of the allegations until this week, specifically the photos that Porter’s first wife Colbie Holderness released of a black eye that Porter allegedly gave her.
Porter has denied the accusations but offered his resignation on Wednesday.