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John Kelly rebukes claim he called President Trump 'moron' or 'idiot'

Journalists worry comedian Michelle Wolf's biting monologue at the White House Correspondents' Dinner went too far

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday insisted that President Donald Trump's former bodyguard was following "standard operating procedure" when he reportedly raided the office of the president's former doctor.

News reported Monday that Kelly has called the president an "idiot" several times, citing "eight current and former White House officials".

An NBC report published Monday 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 by calling him an "idiot". "He always knows where I stand and he and I both know this story is total BS", CNN reported, Kelly as saying in a statement.

"I spend more time with the president than anyone else and we have an incredibly candid and strong relationship", said Kelly in a statement, according to NBC News.

The story cites three White House spokespeople, however, who say that they don't believe the comment was made.

"I am committed to the President, his agenda, and our country. This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration's many successes". "I have no reason to question his mental fitness".

The change would solve two problems at once: how to quickly mute the Washington-wide conflicts over his previous VA nominee Dr. Ronny Jackson, and what to do with a chief of staff who has become a less effective manager and has reportedly called him "an idiot" in private.

The Channel went on further adding that Kelly had at multiple times called Trump as an idiot for not understanding many things including the DACA.

Kelly's influence and position in the Whit House has also waned in recent months and reports have suggested Trump is not happy with his second chief of staff (the first was Reince Priebus) and has been annoyed by a perception that Kelly keeps his worst instincts and urges under check.

Kelly's comment came as the officials deliberated on the future of the United States effort in Syria, following Trump's off-the-cuff comments saying he was determined to get USA troops out of the country.

Despite the clarifications, the report was circulated and CNN at one point reported Kelly even used the word "unhinged".

The drumbeat increased dramatically in February, when Kelly's handling of the firing of former White House Secretary Rob Porter came under scrutiny.