John Kelly isn't the first Trump administration official accused of insulting the president's intelligence

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May 01, 2018 11:04 AM

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has made it clear that he doesn’t think his boss is an “idiot.”

NBC News released a report on Monday claiming four White House officials confirmed they’ve heard Kelly call President Donald Trump an “idiot” on multiple occasions, but the retired general slammed the story as “total BS.”

“I spend more time with the president than anyone else and we have an incredibly candid and strong relationship,” said Kelly in a statement, per the outlet. “He always knows where I stand and he and I both know this story is total BS. 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.”

Kelly, 67, isn’t the first Trump administration official accused of insulting the president’s intelligence.

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Last October, then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was accused of calling Trump a “moron” in a report that also initially appeared on NBC News. In a hastily arranged press conference that same day, Tillerson reaffirmed his commitment to the president — but notably did not deny the comment outright.

“I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that,” Tillerson said when pressed about the “moron” comment. “This is what I don’t understand about Washington. I’m not from this place.”

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A short time later, Trump offered to compare IQ tests with Tillerson — who was abruptly fired in March.

“I think it’s fake news, but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests,” Trump told Forbes magazine. “And I can tell you who is going to win.”

Trump also appeared to address the “idiot” report on Twitter Monday evening, dismissing it as yet another example of “fake news.”

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