White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called President Donald Trump an “idiot,” according to an NBC report Monday.
As NBC put it, citing multiple White House officials, “Kelly portrays himself to Trump administration aides as the lone bulwark against catastrophe, curbing the erratic urges of a president who has a questionable grasp on policy issues and the functions of government. He has referred to Trump as ‘an idiot’ multiple times to underscore his point.”
Kelly’s sense of himself as a savior is obviously ridiculous. The chief of staff has a long history of racist, ruthless politics: He cracked down people in prison who went on a hunger strike while he was running Guantanamo, he believes that waterboarding “absolutely” works, and has said that a “lack of compromise” led to the Civil War.
Adding to that abhorrent list, the NBC report Monday also revealed that Kelly perpetuates a culture of sexism in the West Wing. According to officials, Kelly has told aides multiple times that women are more emotional than men, including once in front of Trump himself.
Kelly also defended former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who left his position earlier this year after two of his ex-wives said he had abused them. When the story first broke, Kelly spoke highly of Porter in a statement. According to the NBC report, Kelly also “wondered aloud how much more Porter would have to endure before his honor could be restored” and questioned why his ex-wives didn’t just “move on.”
Unnamed White House spokespeople defended Kelly to NBC, reportedly telling the outlet that Kelly might have said women are more emotional than men, but that the comment was fine because it’s true.
“Generally speaking,” they told NBC, “women are more emotional than men.”
They also said Kelly is actually the “bigger gentleman” who steps in when aides use foul language to note “a lady is present” and who apologizes if he curses in front of a woman.
That type of behavior is not unlike Kelly’s comments from last October, lamenting the fact that when he was growing up, “women were sacred.” That notion, as The Washington Post noted at the time, only perpetuates a culture of misogyny, feeding into a belief that women are dainty and weaker than men.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) April 30, 2018
Kelly has denied the whole NBC report, calling it “BS” in a statement.