Top White House officials got into a heated argument Thursday outside the Oval Office, clashing over the recent surge in illegal immigrants crossing the border, said a source.
White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and National Security Adviser John R. Bolton were at the center of the argument, but at some point, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen got involved.
Several reports focused on Mr. Kelly and Mr. Bolton, describing the disagreement as a profanity-laced shouting match. But White House sources disputed that description, saying any foul language occurred only after the two men parted ways.
Ms. Nielsen and Mr. Bolton apparently patched things up afterward.
“Ambassador Bolton and Secretary Nielsen had a nice conversation in his office. They both believe the goal is to protect our borders,” said a White House official.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted that they were all on the same page.
“While we are passionate about solving the issue of illegal immigration, we are not angry at one another,” she said.
The fiery exchange had some White House aides worried that one of the men would resign. But officials insisted that neither was quitting, according to Bloomberg, which first reported the incident.
It was unclear if President Trump heard the ruckus outside the Oval Office.
Before boarding Air Force One for a flight to Montana, Mr. Trump denied knowledge of the blowup between his top aides.
“I’ve not heard about it. No,” Mr. Trump told reporters.
Mrs. Sanders put the blame on congressional Democrats for the federal government’s inability to more effectively address illegal border crossings.
“We are furious at the failure of congressional Democrats to help us address this growing crisis,” she said. “They should be ashamed for pushing an open borders agenda and are only doing this for strictly political reasons. Despite us having the worst laws in the world and no help from Democrats, our administration is doing a great job on the border.”