The Slatest

Report: John Kelly Frequently Refers to Donald Trump as “an Idiot”

John Kelly greets Melania Trump at a White House event.
John Kelly explains his theories to a receptive audience. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Ahh, another one of these, from NBC:


Some current and former officials said they expect Kelly to leave by July, and that Trump and Kelly seem to have tired of each other.

You may recall this “Relatively competent/functional person says privately that Trump is dumb” trope from such previous stories as The Secretary of State Won’t Specifically Deny That He Referred to the President as a “Fucking Moron” and The National Security Adviser Reportedly Called the President an “Idiot” and a “Kindergartner.”


NBC’s scoop about Kelly’s alleged use of “idiot” is sourced to “four officials who say they’ve witnessed the comments”; the White House denies that Kelly has ever described POTUS in such a way, and he says in a statement that NBC’s story is “total BS.”


Interestingly, one of Kelly’s beefs is apparently that Trump’s lack of policy understanding keeps him from being hardline enough on immigration.

“He doesn’t even understand what DACA is. He’s an idiot,” Kelly said in one meeting, according to two officials who were present. “We’ve got to save him from himself.”

There’s also this:

Current and former White House officials said Kelly has at times made remarks that have rattled female staffers. Kelly has told aides multiple times that women are more emotional than men.


Sexism … in the Trump administration? Now I’ve heard it all! The White House’s official response on this point, incidentally, is very curious:

The White House spokespeople said they haven’t seen Kelly have a negative effect on the morale of women staffers. If anything, they said during meetings Kelly is the “bigger gentleman” who steps in when aides use foul language to note “a lady is present” and similarly says he shouldn’t use foul language in front of a lady if he’s used an expletive. The spokespeople, who would not speak for the record, said it’s possible Kelly may have said women are more emotional than men, with one of them agreeing that “generally speaking, women are more emotional than men.”

What? That’s not good either! “The spokespeople said it’s possible that Kelly may have accused unnamed ‘women’ of ‘shopping,’ noting that ‘generally speaking, women be shopping.”

What year is this? What’s going on?