Trump called Priebus to complain about Kelly: report

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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Gov. Ron DeSantis more popular in Florida than Trump Sotomayor accuses Supreme Court of bias in favor of Trump administration MORE reportedly called former White House chief of staff Reince PriebusReinhold (Reince) Richard PriebusMick Mulvaney's job security looks strong following impeachment CNN's Harwood on Trump acquittal speech: 'This is somebody in deep psychological distress' Reince Priebus joins CBS News as political analyst 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 furious after officials allowed Americans with coronavirus to fly home with other passengers: report Mulvaney confirms he'd have to take a pay cut to be permanent White House chief of staff The Hill's Morning Report — Sanders, Dems zero in on Super Tuesday 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.