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John Kelly: 'I wish I had been' in the White House 'from Day 1'

  • Trump chief of staff John Kelly tells NPR he wishes he had been a part of the White House from the beginning of the administration.
  • "That first six months was pretty chaotic and there were people, some people, hired that maybe shouldn't have," Kelly tells NPR.
  • Kelly insists he has "a close relationship" with Trump.

Trump chief of staff John Kelly says in an NPR interview he has never seriously considered leaving and wishes he had been a part of the White House staff from the beginning of the administration.

"I wish I had been here from Day 1," Kelly told NPR in an interview that aired Friday. "That first six months was pretty chaotic and there were people, some people, hired that maybe shouldn't have."

Kelly, who had been secretary of Homeland Security, became White House chief of staff in July after the departure of Reince Priebus.

Kelly's comments contradict reports that he may resign, especially after a heated Oval Office discussion with President Donald Trump in March. The retired general vowed to quit before Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen "talked him off a ledge," according to an Axios report in early April.

One former administration official told the AP that Kelly privately called Trump "an idiot" last year, which Kelly denied as "total BS."

Kelly told NPR on Thursday he has "a close relationship" with Trump, noting that he spends about eight hours a day with the president.

"My view is to speak truth to power. I always give my opinion on everything. He always listens," Kelly said.

Listen to the full interview from NPR here.