White House chief of staff John Kelly is trying to limit the access of former Apprentice star and current adviser Omarosa Manigault to President Donald Trump, it was reported on Friday.
Kelly, who has purged the White House of aides in an effort to bring discipline to a chaotic operation, is unhappy with Manigault, particularly because of her penchant for ‘triggering’ Trump by feeding him news stories that leave him enraged, according to The Daily Beast.
The news site reports that Manigault would often show Trump news stories – either on a smartphone or printed out – detailing criticism of the president from media figures.
One White House source told The Daily Beast that Manigault brought Trump articles about anti-Trump comments made by MSNBC co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski ‘slagging him, and his administration.’
The stories about the Morning Joe stars are believed to have fueled Trump’s rage at the couple that was once considered friends of the president.
On June 29, Trump posted a tweet in which he denigrated the two, particularly Brzezinski because ‘she was bleeding badly from a face-lift’.
The MSNBC co-hosts fired back at Trump, questioning his mental health and his fitness for the presidency.
Manigault is officially an employee in the White House Office of Communications. Her portfolio entails directing the White House’s outreach to the African American community.
But The Daily Beast is reporting that she has instead earned a reputation among her West Wing colleagues as someone who has created unnecessary distractions for her boss by promoting ‘gossipy’ stories about palace intrigue, Republicans in Congress, and media personalities.
‘When Gen. Kelly is talking about clamping down on access to the Oval, she’s patient zero,’ a source close to the Trump administration said.
A West Wing official said that so far Kelly has succeeded in limiting the damage that Manigault can cause.
Kelly ‘is not thrilled by any means by [Manigault],’ the official told The Daily Beast.
‘He is, however, thrilled that he has been able to stop staffers including Omarosa from bolting into the Oval Office and triggering the president with White House [palace] intrigue stories.’
One of Kelly’s major accomplishments since taking over as chief of staff has been to limit the scope of media stories from right-wing web sites propagating conspiracy theories that has reached Trump’s desk.
These stories would often keep Trump occupied for large chunks of the day, including during work hours.
Kelly has also told White House aides that he must approve of any request to see the president.
The limited access has reportedly left Manigault unhappy.
‘She’s not happy about it,’ a White House source told The Daily Beast.
‘She has a bond that goes back years with [Trump] and resents being cut off like everyone has.’
Despite the imposition of discipline, Kelly is resigned to the fact that he can’t prevent Trump from using his personal cell phone to call trusted current and former aides like Manigault and Steve Bannon.
While Kelly is recognized as having succeeded to a large degree in his efforts to professionalize the White House operations, reports indicate that his time as chief of staff may also be short.
After the president held a rally in Phoenix last month, Trump lashed out at Kelly in a meeting with staff members that left the former Marine general so stunned he told colleagues that he had never been spoken to in that manner in his 35 years of service to the country, The New York Times reported.
Kelly reacted calmly to the dressing down from Trump, though sources said that in the future he would not tolerate similar treatment from the president.
Trump on Friday once again denied that Kelly is making waves at the White House and that he’s frustrated with him.
The Times report to a large extent echoed a Washington Post story from Thursday in which it was claimed that the president is unhappy about Kelly’s strict regimen.
The Post said the president longs for the pre-Kelly days when aides and friends had unfettered access to him.
Trump respects the general who previously served as his Homeland Security secretary, but he’s struggling to adjust to the strict order Kelly introduced at 1600 Penn, aides and friends of the president indicated.
‘He’s having a very hard time,’ a friend who spoke to Trump just this week said.
‘He doesn’t like the way the media’s handling him. He doesn’t like how Kelly’s handling him. He’s turning on people that are very close to him.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Ariel Zilber