Top Donald Trump aide denies calling president an 'idiot'

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly speaks at a news conference at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters in Washington Tuesday Jan. 31 2017 to discuss the operational implementation of the president’s executive orders. (AP

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly today flatly denied calling US President Donald Trump an "idiot" as claimed by a news report.

According to officials, Kelly has told aides multiple times that women are more emotional than men, including once in front of Trump himself.

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". Kelly issued a statement soon after the report was published, calling the story "total BS". "I am committed to the President, his agenda, and our country", he said.

Kelly says NBC's report "is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration's many successes".

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. "I have no reason to question his mental fitness".

"Several sources interviewed by the publication shared comments that they attributed to Kelly, including "[Trump] doesn't even understand what DACA is. "Weve got to save him from himself", the channel reported Kelly as having said.

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"He'll say it and you think, "That's not what you should be saying", one senior official said.

Kelly is Trump's second chief of staff, having been appointed to the position this past July to replace Reince Priebus.

After the talks on a bipartisan deal fell apart, a collapse Kelly helped orchestrate with some conservative Republicans, he told aides in his office: "If it weren't for me the president was going to agree to some hasty deal", according to two officials who were present at the time.

In another example of Kelly being unhappy, one official said Kelly used "salty language" about Trump when Trump wasn't thrilled with picking Kirstjen Nielsen to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

General Kelly is a 45-year military veteran and was in charge of Southern Command, responsible for military operations in Central and South America and the Caribbean, from 2012 until his retirement in January 2016.

Following his appointment as chief of staff, Mr Trump said: "John Kelly will do a fantastic job".

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