White House chief of staff John Kelly was prepared to go into the James Brady press briefing room Thursday and berate journalists for incorrectly reporting about the Trump administration.
At both his prior posts as Secretary of Homeland Security and head of U.S. Southern Command, Kelly had problems with news reporting.
“So I make my way up the Beltway every day, and I use that hour or so to read the news clips about DHS. It’s one of the first two things I do every day—the other is the daily intelligence briefing,” Kelly said during an April speech at George Washington University. “In one, I read what other people are saying about me—and more important, what they’re saying about my people. In the other, I learn about what’s really going on.”
This is quite similar to comments made during the press briefing Thursday.
“As I said when I first started talking — again, I’m a reasonable guy, but when I read in the morning — I read the — well, I won’t tell you what I read — but when I watch TV in the morning, it is astounding to me how much is misreported,” Kelly told reporters following multiple reports of White House dysfunction. “I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you are operating off of contacts, leaks, whatever you call them. But I would just offer to you the advice: I would say maybe develop some better sources. Some person that works way down inside an office, or — well, just develop some better sources.”
As a Marine general, Kelly imposed limits on “what journalists can see and how often they can visit” Guantanamo Bay, according to an Associated Press report.
Kelly told the AP that a reporter had been “abusive” to a member of the prison’s staff and criticized releasing info about hunger strikes.
“It serves to manipulate public opinion but it tells me nothing,” Kelly said.