Administration

John Kelly not present for Trump’s decision to fire McMaster: report

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White House chief of staff John Kelly was not present when President Trump decided to fire former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, according to Bloomberg News.

Trump reportedly made his final decision to oust McMaster when he was alone with McMaster’s replacement, former ambassador and Fox News analyst John Bolton.

Bloomberg also reports that Kelly is rarely on the line for Trump’s calls with foreign leaders, a change from his previous habit, and was not on the call when Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week and congratulated him on his election win. 

{mosads}Kelly was in the loop when Trump made the decision to replace outgoing Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin with his presidential physician Adm. Ronny Jackson. 

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment. It is not clear whether these changes signal a shift in Kelly’s responsibilities. 

Kelly came under scrutiny earlier this year for his handling of former staff secretary Rob Porter, who has been accused of domestic violence from both of his ex-wives. 

The chief of staff initially defended Porter, referring to him as “a man of true integrity and honor” and “a friend, a confidant and a trusted professional.”

Kelly later issued a statement condemning domestic abuse and said he engineered Porter’s departure after detailed reports surfaced of the physical abuse allegations, including photographic evidence from one of Porter’s ex-wives.

Kelly later moved to overhaul the White House’s interim security clearance process, resulting in multiple staffers leaving the administration, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner seeing his clearance downgraded. 

The White House has maintained support for Kelly despite controversy. Kelly, earlier this month after McMaster’s removal, had told White House staff there would be no more personnel changes

Tags David Shulkin Donald Trump Jared Kushner John Kelly
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