Stories

SaveSave story

John Kelly blew up at Trump in Oval Office meeting, threatened to quit

Trump and Kelly
President Donald Trump stands with John Kelly. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly threatened to quit on March 28, according to sources familiar with the events.

What I'm hearing: Kelly blew up at Trump in an Oval Office meeting that day, and while walking back to his office muttered he was going to quit. Sources said it was not related to the David Shulkin firing that happened the same day.

A senior administration official said that calling it a threat was "probably too strong, it was more venting frustration." Kelly often says he doesn't have to be there and didn't seek the job originally.

Details:

  • Kelly packed up some personal belongings, though I'm told that wasn't necessarily because he was walking out. 
  • He was fired up enough that colleagues got allies to call in to calm him down. 
  • At one point DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen — perhaps the person in the administration he trusts most — came over to talk him off the ledge. 

Context: Kelly has verbally threatened to quit more than once over the past eight months.

Why it matters: Very few people inside this White House feel secure or satisfied, given the wild, unpredictable mood and policy changes of Trump. Kelly months ago restored some order and sanity to the place but most of that is gone. 

Get more stories like this by signing up for our weekly political lookahead newsletter, Axios Sneak Peek. 

Axios 21 mins ago
SaveSave story
Featured

Axios situational awareness

🚨Trump’s “great man” playMichael Cohen drops libel suits 📦Amazon's one step ahead — 📊 Big Tech visa uptick

Sign up for Mike Allen's Axios AM.

Ina Fried 42 mins ago
SaveSave story
Featured

Amazon is always one step ahead

Symbol for Amazon Prime
Photo: Ant Palmer/Getty Images

Amazon is an iceberg: People only see what's above the surface. Meanwhile, underneath, the company just keeps expanding.

Why you'll hear about this again: This has proven true time and time again. When people thought of Amazon as a bookstore, it was already on its way to being an e-commerce giant. When all people saw was an e-commerce giant, Amazon was well on its way to being a marketplace and web services provider.