The Donald Trump White House may continue to be in turmoil, as rumors swirl that two of Trump’s top aides, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Chief of Staff John Kelly are close to resigning over “friction” with the president, The Hill is reporting.
Four “senior administration officials,” speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that tensions in the Trump White House have gotten to the point that both men are considering turning in their resignations. However, as is always the case of information received from anonymous sources, it is impossible to verify independently. What’s more, the four officials who spoke up also said that the tensions between the men may cool down before anyone resigns.
Kelly, 67, is a retired general who was brought in to the White House following the resignation of Reince Priebus, with a view towards reigning in the chaotic Trump administration, as FiveThirtyEight reported at the time.
Now, seven months later, Kelly is facing heat from his boss for his handing of the White House staff secretary Rob Porter matter. Porter resigned after two of his ex-wives accused him of physical assault during their marriage – accusations that the FBI had noticed during a routine background check. Kelly initially defended Porter, and he has not publicly explained why he refused to fire Porter after the FBI notified the White House of Porter’s alleged past.
In a memo, John Kelly ordered a review of security clearance procedures that had allowed Rob Porter to handle highly classified materials even though the abuse allegations had prevented him from receiving a permanent clearance https://t.co/TP2rzuTMRW
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 20, 2018
McMaster, according to a companion report in The Hill, is at odds with his boss over his (McMaster’s) statements regarding the Russia investigation. Specifically, McMasters said that there is “incontrovertible” evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. That’s a stance that is unpopular, to say the least, within the Trump White House.
Like Kelly, National Security Adviser McMaster has a military background, being a three-star general. Unlike Kelly, however, McMaster is still on active duty. To this end, claim White House sources, officials are looking for a job for McMasters in the Pentagon. That way, he can end his career with the Department of Defense and possibly earn his fourth star.
What Does Trump Have To Say?
Trump’s spokespeople, for their part, are denying reports that anyone on his team is considering resigning or is close to getting fired. White House spokesman Raj Shah has said that “the president has full confidence in each member of the team.” Similarly, speaking specifically of Kelly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said last week that Trump “has confidence in his chief of staff.”