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Trump called Priebus to complain about Kelly: report

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

President TrumpDonald TrumpLil Wayne gets 11th hour Trump pardon Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Trump expected to pardon Bannon: reports MORE reportedly called former White House chief of staff Reince PriebusReinhold (Reince) Richard PriebusAuthor: Meadows is history's worst White House chief of staff Ex-White House officials urge Trump to condemn violence at Capitol Making America dull again 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 MulvaneyMick MulvaneyFDA chief says he was 'disgusted' by Capitol riots, considered resigning Biden consumer bureau pick could take over agency on Inauguration Day The Hill's Morning Report - An inauguration like no other 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.