President Trump lauded White House chief of staff John Kelly via Twitter on Friday morning, but a new report reveals the commander in chief may be privately frustrated with the retired Marine Corps general’s control.
Since his stepping into the role previously held by Reince Priebus, Kelly has sought to stomp out the chaos of leaks and palace intrigue that has plagued the Trump administration in its first calendar year. According to the Washington Post, Trump loyalists say this crackdown approach runs counter to Trump’s natural way of conducting White House business, and Kelly has now been dubbed “the church lady” by some close to the president.
Per the Washington Post report published on Thursday, several people close to the president say Trump resents Kelly’s moves to restrict Oval Office access and keep the leader in direct paths of operation — leading to the “church lady” nickname because they view him as morally superior and strict.
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“He’s having a very hard time,” someone who had recently spoke with the president said. “He doesn’t like the way the media’s handling him. He doesn’t like how Kelly’s handling him. He’s turning on people that are very close to him.”
Despite this report, Trump’s external view of Kelly appears favorable.
“General John Kelly is doing a great job as Chief of Staff,” the president tweeted 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!”