Chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE reportedly “blew up” at President TrumpDonald TrumpGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Super PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE and threatened to quit his position late last month.
Sources familiar with the situation told Axios that Kelly exploded at Trump during an Oval Office meeting on March 28, and muttered threats to quit while walking back to his office.
One senior White House official told Axios that Kelly was “venting frustration,” and referring to his comments as a threat was “probably too strong.”
Sources told Axios that the comments were not related to the firing of Veterans Affairs Secretary David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinFormer VA secretaries propose National Warrior Call Day to raise military suicide awareness Biden's nominee for VA secretary isn't a veteran — does it matter? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress slogs toward COVID-19 relief, omnibus deal MORE, which occurred the same day. Sources also said that other officials, including Homeland Security chief Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenFar-left bullies resort to harassing, shaming Kyrsten Sinema — it won't work Ex-Trump official: 'No. 1 national security threat I've ever seen' is GOP Left-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides MORE, came to calm Kelly down.
Kelly also reportedly began packing up personal belongings, according to Axios.
The report comes just days after The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump ignored Kelly’s recommendation to fire Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy & Environment — Biden makes return to pre-Trump national monument boundaries official Trump-era EPA board member sues over firing EPA bans use of pesticide linked to developmental problems in children MORE, who has been embroiled in a series of scandals related to spending.
Trump has come to Pruitt’s defense following reports that the EPA administrator stayed in a condo owned by the wife of a lobbyist for well under market value, and that his agency spent millions of taxpayer dollars on a 20-person, full-time security detail.
Trump has in the past reportedly considered firing Kelly and serving as his own chief of staff.
It was reported earlier this year that Kelly has frequently threatened to quit as a means of leverage to get Trump to listen to him.
Sources also told The Hill earlier this month that Kelly's influence appeared to be fading in the West Wing.
The Axios report comes after a string of high-profile firings and departures in the Trump White House, including Shulkin, the VA secretary, Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Supreme Court lets Texas abortion law stand Trump-era ban on travel to North Korea extended Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump MORE and national security adviser H.R. McMaster.
The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.