Trump called Priebus to complain about Kelly: report

Trump called Priebus to complain about Kelly: report
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday Shows preview: Lawmakers, Trump allies discuss Russia probe, migrant family separation Seth McFarlane: Fox News makes me 'embarrassed' to work for this company  'Art of the Deal' co-author: Trump would act like Kim Jong Un if he had the same powers MORE reportedly called former White House chief of staff Reince PriebusReinhold (Reince) Richard PriebusBannon: Sessions an 'excellent' AG, Trump 'wrong' about recusal GOP lawmakers, top advisers have campaigned to stop Trump from firing Sessions: report Exclusive: Bannon says Rosenstein could be fired 'very shortly' MORE to complain about the job performance of his successor, John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE.

The New York Times on Thursday cited people close to the president as saying that Trump phoned several people, including Priebus, to complain about Kelly's performance.

The call comes as the chief of staff finds himself at the center of criticism over the White House response to allegations of domestic abuse leveled against White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned this week.

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Kelly initially defended Porter in a Daily Mail story that revealed allegations that Porter physically and emotionally abused his two ex-wives. The White House chief of staff issued a second statement Wednesday saying he was "shocked" by the allegations.

“I was shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter,” Kelly said. “There is no place for domestic violence in our society.” But he added: “I stand by my previous comments of the Rob Porter that I have come to know since becoming chief of staff and believe every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation.”

Trump has recently asked advisers their thoughts about Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump to nominate budget official as next consumer bureau chief Trump close to nominating CFPB chief: report On The Money: Trump imposes B in tariffs on China | China blasts 'fickle' Trump, promises payback | Trump to name consumer bureau director next week MORE, the White House budget director, possibly serving as chief of staff, two sources told the Times. Mulvaney currently also serves as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Kelly's initial support for Porter has been criticized by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including Republican Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.), who said Thursday that Kelly made a "bad decision."

“I think Gen. Kelly has done an extraordinary job as chief of staff to President Trump. I think he’s a good man, and sometimes good people make bad decisions,” Kennedy said.

Porter denied the claims in a statement announcing his resignation from the White House on Wednesday, calling them part of a "coordinated smear campaign."

"These outrageous allegations are simply false," he said.