Former President Donald Trump’s second chief of staff, John Kelly, “shoved” Ivanka Trump in a fit of “rage” following a heated Oval Office meeting, Jared Kushner claims in his forthcoming White House memoir.
The 45th president’s son-in-law and top adviser alleges that Kelly — a former Marine Corps general who served as White House chief of staff from July 2017 to January 2019 — was a bullying figure who had a “Jekyll-and-Hyde” demeanor during his days at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, according to excerpts of the book obtained by the Washington Post.
“One day he had just marched out of a contentious meeting in the Oval Office,” recalls Kushner, 41. “Ivanka was walking down the main hallway of the West Wing when she passed him. Unaware of his heated state of mind, she said, ‘Hello, chief.’”
But Kelly reportedly wasn’t in the mood to chat.
“Kelly shoved her out of the way and stormed by,” Kushner’s account continued. “She wasn’t hurt, and didn’t make a big deal about the altercation, but in his rage Kelly had shown his true character.”
About an hour after the incident, the first son-in-law claimed, Kelly went to Ivanka’s second-floor West Wing office to offer a “meek apology,” which was accepted.
Kelly, 72, said he didn’t “recall” the episode as Kushner described it in his memoir.
“It is inconceivable that I would EVER shove a woman,” Kelly wrote in an email to the newspaper. “Inconceivable. Never happen. Would never intentionally do something like that. Also, don’t remember ever apologizing to her for something I didn’t do. I’d remember that.”
Julie Radford, Ivanka Trump’s chief of staff, heard Kelly’s mea culpa, according to Kushner’s account.
“It was the first and only time that Ivanka’s staff saw Kelly visit their second-floor corner of the West Wing,” Kushner writes.
Ivanka Trump, through a spokesperson, told the Washington Post that her husband’s account of the incident was accurate.
Kelly, who first joined Trump’s administration as homeland security secretary, replaced Reince Priebus as chief of staff. But the former four-star soon butted heads with other key figures in Trump’s White House — including Kushner and Ivanka — over his requirement that the president’s relatives alert Kelly to their work-related interactions with the commander-in-chief. Kelly also suspected the couple of undermining him, according to the outlet,
Meanwhile, Kushner accused Kelly of paying his wife “compliments to her face” before dismissing her in private.
“Then the four-star general would call her staff to his office and berate and intimidate them over trivial procedural issues that his rigid system often created,” he reportedly wrote. “He would frequently refer to her initiatives like paid family leave and the child tax credit as ‘Ivanka’s pet projects.’”
Kushner’s “Breaking History: A White House Memoir,” is due out Aug. 23.