New details are coming out about an altercation which occurred last February between John Kelly, President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff, and informal adviser Corey Lewandowski.
The “near brawl” happened just outside the Oval Office, and got so bad that it forced the Secret Service to intervene.
“The near brawl — during which Mr. Kelly grabbed Mr. Lewandowski by the collar and tried to have him ejected from the West Wing — came at a time when the chief of staff was facing uncertainty about how long Mr. Trump would keep him in his job. A guessing game over his departure has colored his tenure ever since.”
The argument happened on the day that the Parkland shooting victims families were all visiting the White House. The tensions were running high, and John Kelly criticized Lewandowski to President Trump because Lewandowski made a lot of money off a contract with a Super PAC funding Trump’s horrifying re-election bid. Kelly was also agitated because Lewandowski had criticized him on TV over John Kelly’s handling of woman-beater staffer Rob Porter’s security clearance scandal. The situation boiled over when Donald Trump took a call and the two men exited the room.
As Mr. Kelly walked toward a hallway leading back to his office, he called to someone to remove Mr. Lewandowski from the building. The two then began arguing, with Mr. Lewandowski speaking loudly. Mr. Kelly grabbed Mr. Lewandowski by his collar, trying to push him against a wall, according to a person with direct knowledge of the episode.
Mr. Lewandowski did not get physical in response, according to multiple people familiar with the episode. But Secret Service agents were called in. Ultimately, the two men agreed to move on, those briefed on the episode said.
The reports come from several people who have direct familiarity with the fight, the Times reports.
Kelly, who is a retired four-star general, surprised many by his repeated altercations with people. Both the Democrats and the Republicans had hoped that Kelly could serve as “the adult in the room.” It didn’t work out that way. He fought a Chinese official in Bejing in 2017 and just last week he had a “profanity-laced” verbal fight with the National Security Adviser John Bolton.
For the incident between Corey Lewandowski and John Kelly, one thing is very clear. It’s shameful that America’s honorable Secret Service must play referee for this ridiculous administration. The entire incident shows just how chaotic the Trump administration is, and how much chaos Donald Trump, who is not a true leader, is willing to have near him in one of the most important political offices on the planet.