U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) / Flickr Secretary John Kelly...
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) / Flickr

It had to come sooner or later, a rift between Donald Trump and his Chief of Staff John Kelly. Kelly, touted as “one of the adults in the room,” came into the White House to turn chaos into calm and infuse the West Wing with professionalism. His faux pas, which greatly annoyed Trump, was in going on Fox News last night and talking about the wall and the meeting he’d had earlier Wednesday with lawmakers on the topic. Kelly spoke about the differences between campaigning and governing and in so many words, put it out there that there wasn’t going to be a wall as described during the campaign and that Trump was uninformed. Johnathan Swan Axios:

[Kelly on Fox News] “As we talked about things — where this president is and how much he wants to deal with this DACA issue and take it away — I told them that, you know, there’s been an evolutionary process that this president has gone through as a campaign [sic]. And I pointed out to all of the members that were in the room that they all say things during the course of campaigns that may or may not be fully informed. But this president, if you’ve seen what he’s done, he has changed the way that he’s looked at a number of things. … So he has evolved in the way he’s looked at things. Campaign to governing are two different things, and this president is very, very flexible in terms of what is within the realm of the possible.”

Trump has evolved? Flexible? Nah. Here’s this morning’s tweet fest. 

Why it matters: This is one of the first public signs we’ve seen of tension between Trump and his chief of staff. Last night, Kelly undercut Trump’s self-perception as the most brilliant man on earth, and instant master of all subjects. The notion of evolution would be inherently offensive to him.

Here’s what the prescient source told me:

“Kelly has finally ventured into Steve Bannon territory when it comes to trying to create the perception that he’s the ‘great manipulator,’ saving the country from Trump’s ignorance. The difference is, Steve tried to develop that reputation in off-the-record conversations with reporters. Kelly did it openly on the country’s most-watched cable network. It’s the subtle difference between hubris and arrogance.”

As Johnathan Swan said, Kelly’s going to have an interesting time with the boss today. 

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