Transcript for Kelly defends 'candid and strong' relationship with Trump
We begin with chief of staff John Kelly firing back after a report that he reportedly called the president an idiot the. Tonight general Kelly now talking about his candid and strong relationship with the president adding I am committed to the president. ABC's senior white house correspondent Cecilia Vega leads us off. Reporter: White house chief of staff John Kelly tonight, making a rare public statement to defend his relationship with his boss. It comes after NBC news reported that Kelly has repeatedly called president trump "An idiot." In one meeting on immigration, Kelly reportedly trash talking the presidentsaying, "He doesn't even understand what DACA is. He's an idiot. We've got to save him from himself." Nearly immediately, Kelly fired back. In a statement he said, "I spend more time with the president than anyone else and we have an incredibly candid and strong relationship. He always knows where I stand and he and I both know this story is total bs. He called it "Another pathetic attempt to smear people close to president trump and distract from the administration's many successes." One aide who was also in that meeting backed Kelly's denial, telling ABC news "He never said that." Kelly has come under fire for his handling of the ouster of former staff secretary rob porter. Kelly initially defended porter as honorable amid allegations of domestic abuse. Just last month, the president praised his chief of staff. You know, we have general Kelly here, four star. And he's doing a great job in Washington. Reporter: But they have had their differences. In January, Kelly committed one of the cardinal sins of a trump confidant. When he seemed to publicly embarrass his boss over his number one issue, the border wall. He has evolved in the way he's looked at things. Campaign to governing are two different things and this president has been very, very flexible in terms of what's within the realm of the possible. Reporter: The president fired back on Twitter, openly contradicting his right hand man, saying, "The wall is the wall, it has never changed or 'evolved' from the first day I conceived of it." So let's get to Cecilia Vega. She's live from the white house. A forceful denial from John Kelly. What are your sources telling you about the relationship? General Kelly has been on the job for nine months. Those who are loyal to him, those who put a target on his back. President trump has not been happy with the limitations general Kelly has put on who can access the oval office and access the president. Right now sources telling us they stand on solid ground. Thank you.
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