President Trump hammered the Washington Post Sunday morning for a story the paper printed on his Chief of Staff John Kelly.
‘The Washington Post is far more fiction than fact. Story after story is made up garbage – more like a poorly written novel than good reporting. Always quoting sources (not names), many of which don’t exist,’ Trump wrote. ‘Story on John Kelly isn’t true, just another hit job!’
The article describes a testy relationship between Trump and Kelly, with Kelly becoming increasingly frustrated with the president.
President Trump (left) hammered the Washington Post Sunday for the paper’s reporting of his testy relationship with Chief of Staff John Kelly (right)
President Trump likened the Washington Post piece to a ‘poorly written novel’ and called it ‘just another hit job’
The three Washington Post reporters working on the story said they interviewed 16 administration officials, outside advisers and presidential confidants ‘many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to assess the chief of staff.’
Kelly declined to be interviewed for the story.
Three of the sources described a recent incident, in which Kelly received a pep talk from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in the aftermath of Trump’s decision to fire Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, a move that frustrated Kelly.
I’m out of here, guys,’ Kelly said at the time – comments that were interpreted by some as a resignation threat, though one administration official told the Post that the chief of staff was simply leaving the office early.
But the Post’s sources told reporters that Kelly has threatened to resign on multiple occasions.
‘It’s sort of a weekly event,’ one senior White House official said.
Officials characterized Kelly’s outbursts as expressions of momentary frustration, not necessarily real threats.
Last fall Kelly threatened to resign if Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Trump told Kelly he could keep ‘his guy,’ though later embarrassed Tillerson by tweeting ‘save your energy, Rex,’ during the secretary of state’s trip to China, in which he was trying to make progress on negotiations with North Korea.
Kelly also took his turn embarrassing Tillerson, telling reporters in an off-the-record session, some of which was reported, that the secretary of state was sick on the toilet with ‘Montezuma’s revenge’ when Kelly called to tell him that Trump would be firing him.
Sources told the Post that what Kelly said was a joke – which was backed up by the State Department contesting that version of events – though aides told the paper that they found the comment ‘crude and demeaning,’ the reporters wrote.
As the Post continues to chronicle the drama inside the White House, the president has made the newspaper a frequent target of his Twitter attacks.
He’s also whacked Amazon, which is the company started by Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos.
Last week, Trump put Amazon’s stock price on a rollercoaster ride by openly criticizing the company several times.
‘I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy,’ Trump wrote at one point.
‘Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourne by the American Taxpayer. Many billions of dollars. P.O. leaders don’t have a clue (or do they?)!’ the president said.