What should we make of the report from NBC News that John Kelly has referred to President Trump as “an idiot” and believes he is saving America by curbing the president? Kelly calls the report “BS.” President Trump, though not addressing the report directly, presumably had it in mind yesterday when he blasted, via Twitter, “The Fake News [for] making up false stories and using only unnamed sources (who don’t exist).”
Unfortunately, the sources for the Kelly story probably do exist, and that’s what I make of the NBC News report: Kelly has enemies in the White House who are desperate to push him out.
Has Kelly, when frustrated, referred to Trump as an idiot? Possibly, but I don’t take his enemies’ word for it. Does Kelly view himself as a savior? Possibly. I’m pretty sure he’s proud of having brought significantly more order to the White House process than previously existed. And Kelly would not be the first high level public servant to view himself as heroic.
NBC News also claims that Kelly has “at times made remarks that have rattled female staffers.” For example, he allegedly has said that women are more emotional than men.
It’s possible that Kelly has said this. It’s also possible that, at a very general level, the statement is true.
But any suggestion that Kelly does not respect the ability of women is belied by NBC’s own reporting. According to the article:
After some informal interviews with potential nominees [for Department of Homeland Security boss], Kelly gave Trump two choices, according to the officials: Kobach and Kelly’s deputy Kirstjen Nielsen.
Trump later became convinced Kelly had manipulated the process so he’d pick Nielsen, given the doubts that Kobach could get confirmed, the officials said.
Kirstjen Nielsen is Kelly’s protege and was his deputy at the Department of Homeland Security. He wanted her to succeed him as Secretary (whether he manipulated the process to make this happen, I don’t know).
Clearly, Kelly is comfortable with women holding the toughest, most important positions in government. Female staffers should be no more “rattled” by him than their male counterparts. His enemies have injected a false claim of “sexism” into their narrative.
The NBC News report is a hit piece orchestrated by John Kelly’s enemies. File it under “mildly interesting, if true.”