President Trump lambasted chief of staff John Kelly after staffers suggested to their boss that he stray away from political distractions that could impede his policy agenda, according to a report Friday.
Kelly was the senior most aide in the room when Trump directed his ire at him some time after Trump's wild rally in Phoenix last month in which he again assailed the media, among other things. Kelly reacted calmly in the face of Trump's frustration.
Kelly, a former Marine Corps general, later told fellow staffers that he had never been talked to that way in his life. Sources told The New York Times he would not endure that kind of treatment again.
The latest look into the Trump-Kelly dynamic follows a string of reports on how Trump is having a difficult time accepting the strict operation in the White House run by Kelly, who transitioned from the Homeland Security Department at the end of July, replacing Reince Priebus.
Since then, Kelly has restricted the flow of information and people that reaches Trump. That reportedly includes limiting which family members can see Trump in the Oval Office on a whim.
However, Trump has been slow to adjust to some of Kelly's changes, including acclimating to a more limited scope of news articles printed out for him to read -- since he reportedly doesn't browse the Internet and otherwise relies on the Fox News channel.
Further, a Washington Post report this week said Trump, when Kelly isn't around, uses his personal phone to talk to recently departed White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and other business friends and outside advisers.
Kelly has been supportive of the ousters of Bannon, national security aide Sebastian Gorka, and White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci -- all people, according to the Times, are people who concerned Kelly due to lack of experience and the drama that surrounded their tenures. He also has an eye to remove Omarosa Manigault, the communications director for the Office of Public Liaison who has known Trump since her appearance on the first season of "The Apprentice." The Daily Beast reported Friday that Kelly thinks she is a bad influence on Trump and wants to push her out.
Though Kelly has worked to maintain an orderly West Wing, he refuses to attempt to control Trump's Twitter habits. He also doesn't seek out the limelight, as evidenced in Trump's Phoenix rally on Aug. 22 when he called Kelly to come onto the stage, but he was nowhere to be found.
Despite Trump's resistance to change, he has repeatedly told a senior aide, "I now have time to think" amid Kelly's more structured regime, according to the Times.
Trump has also publicly exclaimed his appreciation of Kelly, tweeting Friday morning that Kelly "is doing a great job as Chief of Staff."
"I could not be happier or more impressed - and this Administration continues to get things done at a record clip," Trump added. "Many big decisions to be made over the coming days and weeks. AMERICA FIRST!"