White House chief of staff John Kelly has grown increasingly frustrated with President Trump in recent months, even telling senior national security officials last month that he believed the President was becoming "unhinged," a senior administration official told CNN.
"He said the President was becoming unhinged," the official said, adding that Kelly appeared to say it in "a moment of frustration."
Kelly referred to the President as "unhinged" during a meeting with the Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, and senior National Security Council officials, the senior administration official said.
Kelly's comment came as the officials deliberated on the future of the US effort in Syria, following Trump's off-the-cuff comments saying he was determined to get US troops out of the country.
In another example of Kelly being unhappy, one official said Kelly used “salty language” about the President when Trump wasn’t thrilled with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has responded to an NBC report, claiming that he called President Trump an "idiot."
Kelly said he spends a lot of time with the President and has "an incredibly candid and strong relationship" with him.
White House chief of staff John Kelly plans to deny claims in an NBC report that he called President Trump an "idiot," a senior administration official told CNN on Monday.
The report claimed, among other things, that Kelly had said during an immigration-related meeting that he needed to "save (Trump) from himself" while insulting the President's intelligence.
But a senior administration official who was in the room for the immigration meeting said Kelly never called the President an idiot there, as the NBC report claimed.
The official said Kelly and Trump were meeting in the Oval Office when the story broke on TV and noted the two would likely discuss the report if they hadn't already.
The senior administration official said while Trump and his chief of staff have had disagreements, Kelly has never used that kind of language to criticize Trump.
"I don't think anybody is surprised that he and the President have had disagreements in the past," the official said.
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in convinced North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the demilitarized zone (DMZ) is the best site for a summit with President Trump, according to an official with deep knowledge of North Korea’s thinking on the matter.
The source said there is a “strong possibility” the summit will happen at Panmunjom, with some events possibly happening on the north side of the DMZ.
The venue makes the most sense logistically for Kim. There is also a press center and media facilities and equipment already in place, which would the allow the summit to take place “in late May.”
Traveling to the north side of the DMZ would also provide an historic opportunity for Trump, the source said, adding that Moon may be involved in the summit “in some capacity.”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis would not say Monday whether Iran was in compliance with the Nuclear Agreement, citing the ongoing decision making process by President Trump.
He did say that the deal “certainly needs to be fixed.”
“I don’t want to get into details,” he said when asked about it again.
Mattis also said he did not watch Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presentation on Iran’s nuclear program.
Asked if the Israeli minister of defense presented any evidence on Iran’s non-compliance during their meeting at the Pentagon last week, Mattis said, "the Israeli minister of defense and I discussed a host of issues. That was not one of them."
President Trump spoke with French President Macron today to “address developments concerning Syria and Iran," the White House said.
The short, 19-word readout of the call offered no further details or other information.
President Trump told reporters "there's something I like" about holding a summit with Kim Jong Un along the North and South Korean border.
Trump added he'd indirectly raised the prospect of meeting there with North Korea.
Trump said he'd spoken with South Korean President Moon Jae-in about meeting in the demilitarized zone (DMZ), and Moon had "connected" with North Korea on the matter.
"There's something I like about it, because you're there, if things work out, there's a great celebration to be had on the site, not in a third party country," he said.
US officials had previously downplayed the chances of holding the meeting at the DMZ, since it may appear Trump is traveling to Kim's doorstep. But Trump was taken with the images of an inter-Korean summit held at the DMZ last week, White House officials said, and believes the symbolism could prove powerful for his own talks.
US officials have favored Singapore as a neutral location, and Trump affirmed on Monday the Southeast Asian city-state was still being considered.
"We'll see what happens," Trump said. "I often say, who knows, maybe a lot of things change."
President Trump said Nigeria would soon receive delivery of US-made military helicopters after he allowed a sale that was banned under previous administrations.
"We’re getting it approved," Trump said, saying the aircraft would be delivered "very soon."
"I worked that out so now you can buy the helicopters that you want," Trump said, adding that the human rights concerns cited by the Obama administration were bad reasons.
A reporter asked President Trump if he was confident his summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un would still happen.
He said he was, adding that both North Korea and the US wanted it to happen. However, he added a caveat: "If it’s not a success," the President said, "I will respectfully leave."
Asked how he measured success, Trump said, "Got to get rid of the nuclear weapons."