- The Washington Times - Monday, April 30, 2018

White House chief of staff John F. Kelly hit back at a media report Monday that accused him of calling President Trump an “idiot.”

“I spend more time with the president than anyone else and we have an incredibly candid and strong relationship,” Mr. Kelly said in a statement. “He always knows where I stand and he and I both know this story is total BS.”

NBC News, citing current and former White House officials, reported that Mr. Kelly has referred to the president as an “idiot” multiple times and views himself as the savior of the country.

The report alleges that Mr. Kelly “portrays himself to Trump administration aides as the lone bulwark against catastrophe, curbing the erratic urges of a president who has a questionable grasp on policy issues and the functions of government.”

The retired four-star Marine general has been serving as White House chief of staff for nine months, and was expected to bring more order and discipline to the West Wing.

Mr. Kelly said he is “committed to the president, his agenda, and our country.”’

“This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration’s many successes,” Mr. Kelly said.

Calling the president a “moron” might have been the beginning of the end for former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who reportedly made the comment about Mr. Trump at a Pentagon meeting last summer. Mr. Tillerson never specifically denied that he made the comment, and the president later boasted in an interview that he would beat Mr. Tillerson in an IQ contest.

The president fired Mr. Tillerson in March, announcing the move in a tweet. Mr. Kelly was the one who delivered the bad news to Mr. Tillerson in a phone call.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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