Chief of staff who calls Trump a super-smart guy says investigation unavoidably crops up when chairman hosts foreign leaders
John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, has said Donald Trump is” somewhat embarrassed” by the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Kelly told National Public Radio( NPR ) in a rare interview broadcast on Friday that Robert Mueller’s investigation inevitably crops up when the US president hosts his foreign counterparts.
” There may not be a cloud, but surely the president is, you know, somewhat embarrassed, frankly ,” Kelly, a retired four-star marine corps general, said.” When world leaders come in, it’s kind of like you know Bibi Netanyahu[ of Israel] is here and he- who’s under investigation himself- and it’s like, you know, you walk in and you know the first couple of minutes of every conversation might revolve around that kind of thing .”
Kelly, who is Trump’s second joint chiefs of staff, said he spends five to eight hours a day with the president. His tenure has been the subject of recent supposition after reports that his influence is waning and that he branded the president an “idiot” . But he told NPR he thinks Trump is” a super-smart guy “.
He added:” My opinion is to speak truth to power. I always give my opinion on everything. He always listens. Sometimes he takes the opinion, sometimes he doesn’t .”
Kelly denied reports he had threatened to resign but acknowledged :” There’s times of great frustration, mostly because of the stories I read about myself or others that I think the world of, which is just about everybody who works at the complex, and wonder whether it’s worth it to be subjected to that .”
He did not name his predecessor, Reince Priebus, but said he wishes he had been in the role sooner.” I think in some cases in terms of staffing, or serving the president, that first six months was pretty chaotic and there were people some people hired that maybe shouldn’t have. It’s not that things were a disaster that first six months, but I believe they could have been better .”
Kelly also addressed the Trump administration’s efforts to combat illegal immigration. He told most people coming into the country without documentation” are not bad people”, but they will not assimilate easily.
” They’re overwhelmingly rural people ,” he said.” In the countries they come from, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are various kinds of the norm. They don’t speak English; obviously that’s a big thing. They don’t integrate well; they don’t have abilities .”
Kelly was seen as a hardliner on immigration in his pre-chief of staff role as head of the Department of Homeland Security. Now questions have also been raised about the future of Kelly’s successor at the DHS, Kirstjen Nielsen. The New York Times reported that she had drafted but not submitted a resignation letter after Trump lambasted her at a meeting for failing, in his view, to procure US borders.
Nielsen herself issued a statement that said:” The chairman is rightly frustrated that existing loopholes and the lack of congressional action have prevented the authorities concerned from fully securing the border and protecting the American people. I share his frustration .”
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