John Kelly Rips Into Report He Called Trump An Idiot: ‘Pathetic Attempt to Smear People’

White House chief of staff John Kelly fired back at a Monday report claiming that he called President Donald Trump an “idiot” and saw himself as the saving grace of the administration. 

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“This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration’s many successes,” Kelly said, according to NBC News. The outlet reported that four administration officials directly heard him say that, but three thought the “idiot” quote was inaccurate.

One former official reported feeling like Kelly gave the implication that “‘if I weren’t here we would’ve entered WWIII or the president would have been impeached.'” NBC also claimed that Kelly said Trump didn’t even understand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and that the White House had to “save him from himself.”

In his statement, Kelly said that even Trump didn’t believe the report.

“He always knows where I stand and he and I both know this story is total BS. I am committed to the president, his agenda, and our country,” Kelly said.

Kelly added that he and the president had an “incredibly candid and strong relationship.” Trump similarly blasted the media after the report’s release, calling it “totally unhinged” and defending his administration’s progress:

While hosting her MSNBC show, Stephanie Ruhle, who co-wrote the story, pushed back on Kelly’s response. Ruhle seemed to try to make it appear as though Kelly contradicted himself by using the term “BS” in his response after he said he didn’t use profanity in front of women.

“Let’s point out that within 45 minutes of our story printing, John Kelly sent a very emotional and highly charged response,” Ruhle said. “And in it, he called it total BS, and last I checked, the ‘S’ in BS stands for a foul word. So, John Kelly, it appears that you, my friend, are the one using profanity, and you, sir, are the one who’s emotionally charged.”

Watch her response below:

Ruhle previously got pushback over a similar story she wrote about former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling Trump a “moron.” Although Tillerson didn’t directly deny the reporting, he dismissed a question about that characterization and called it “petty.”

“My source didn’t just say that he called him a moron,” Ruhle remarked, “he said an ‘f-ing moron.'”

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