White House chief of staff John Kelly dismissed criticism on Thursday that he has failed to crack down on President Trump's controversial tweets, arguing his job was never meant to involve reining in Trump.
"It's funny, I read in the paper ... that, you know, I've been a failure at controlling the president or a failure at controlling his tweeting and all that," Kelly told reporters at the White House on Thursday. "I was not brought to this job to control anything but the flow of information to our president so that he could make the best decisions."
Kelly pushed back on the suggestion that he has sought to limit the access to Trump that the president's friends and allies enjoyed before Kelly entered the West Wing in July. Some of Trump's associates have complained that they can no longer reach Trump thanks to the new rules imposed by his chief of staff.
"I restrict no one from going in to see him," Kelly said, noting he now brings knowledgeable people into the Oval Office in larger groups, rather than in individual meetings, to maximize Trump's exposure to different viewpoints.
"We go in and help him collectively understand what he needs to understand to make these vital decisions," Kelly said.
"He's a decisive guy. He's a very thoughtful man," Kelly said of Trump. "He takes information in from every avenue he can receive it."
Kelly has received praise for the discipline he has brought to a White House that suffered from infighting, leaks and a lack of focus under its previous chief of staff, Reince Priebus. But critics have argued that Kelly has failed to curb Trump's worst impulses, which include picking fights with members of his own party and pulling focus from the administration's agenda by sending out incendiary tweets.
"You should not measure my effectiveness as a chief of staff by what you think I should be doing," Kelly said.