White House chief of staff John Kelly has a solution for Donald Trump’s provocative, often vicious, tweets: Pay no attention to them.
Asked about his response to Trump’s tweet implying North Korea leader Kim Jong Un was “short and fat,” Kelly noted that he and the staff don’t react to the president’s tweets. “I don’t allow the staff to. We know what we’re doing,” he said after a news conference Sunday in Vietnam, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Believe it or not, I do not follow the tweets,” Kelly said. “I find out about them. But for our purposes, my purpose, is we make sure the president is briefed up on what he’s about to do.”
Trump erupted Saturday after a North Korea statement referred to him as an “old lunatic” and “warmonger.” Trump tweeted: “Why would Kim Jong Un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ’short and fat?’”
He also called critics “haters and fools” for being suspicious of his cozy relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On Saturday Trump said he believed Putin’s insistence that Russia did not interfere in the U.S. presidential election, despite the clear findings of Trump’s intelligence officers, whom the president called “hacks.”
He then appeared to walk back his comments on Sunday. “As to whether I believe it” — Putin’s denial of Russian interference — “I’m with our agencies, especially as currently constituted,” Trump said at a news conference with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang. “As currently led, by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies.”
Critics blasted Trump for his pro-Putin comments the previous day, with former intelligence chiefs saying he was being played by the Russian leader.