Trump’s team shrug off staffing rumours
White House advisers are tamping down speculation that President Donald Trump may seek to replace chief of staff John Kelly over the handling of domestic abuse accusations against an aide who resigned last week.
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway on Sunday said the president asked her to make clear that he supports Kelly, whose handling of abuse allegations against White House staff secretary Rob Porter have come under intense scrutiny.
“He has full confidence in his current chief of staff, General John Kelly and he’s not actively searching for replacements,” Conway said on ABC’s This Week.
Porter resigned on Wednesday after two former wives said he abused them. His abrupt departure raised questions about how long it took Trump’s team to act on the accusations.
Kelly has so far taken the brunt of the blame and a source familiar with the matter told Reuters he offered to resign.
Budget director Mick Mulvaney blamed talk of a Kelly ousting on people disgruntled because they lost access to Trump after Kelly became chief of staff in July.
“I’m extraordinarily pleased with the job the chief has been doing. Everybody in the West Wing is. The president is as well,” Mulvaney said on the Fox News Sunday program. “I think that talk about the chief’s departure is much ado about nothing.”
White House legislative liaison Marc Short denied reports that Kelly had offered his resignation and said he was doing an “outstanding job”.
Short told NBC’s Meet the Press that the Federal Bureau of Investigation provided an interim security clearance to Porter.
He did not say whether he believed Kelly was aware of the accusations before Tuesday night, when he “learned the depth of the nature of the accusations”.
“I think there was probably some … lack of communication between different elements in the White House,” Short told NBC.