There are reports of trouble brewing in the White House -- and Ivanka and John Kelly seem to be at the center of it

Ivanka Trump. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • John Kelly, President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, is reportedly growing frustrated with Ivanka Trump, according to CNN.
  • The frustration boiled over after Ivanka’s trip to South Korea last week, where she met with South Korean President Moon Jae In and cheered on US athletes competing in the Winter Olympics.
  • Kelly has also reportedly become increasingly isolated in the White House. The president has mulled replacing him in recent weeks.

White House chief of staff John Kelly is growing increasingly frustrated with Ivanka Trump, CNN reported Tuesday.

The frustration comes on the heels of the first daughter’s part diplomatic, part ceremonial trip to South Korea, where she met with South Korean President Moon Jae In and led the US delegation into Sunday’s closing ceremony marking the end of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

In private conversations with other White House officials, Kelly has reportedly criticised Ivanka’s shifting roles of presidential adviser and first daughter, and accused her of “playing government” when it suits her, per the CNN report.

Kelly was also reportedly one of a number of senior officials who felt uncomfortable with the decision to send Ivanka to South Korea, suggesting that Ivanka’s presence trivialized the tension between the US and North Korea.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refuted the idea that Kelly was ever hesitant about Ivanka’s trip, telling CNN that Kelly had been “supportive of the trip since the planning process began.”

“We all thought it was a great success,” Sanders added. “Ivanka was a great representative for the administration.”

Kelly’s role in the White House appeared to be in limbo earlier this month after reports surfaced that President Donald Trump was considering a replacement for the retired four-star Marine general. Trump was reportedly angered by Kelly’s response to the scandal involving Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary who resigned amid abuse allegations from his two ex-wives.

John kelly phoneMark Wilson/Getty ImagesIvanka and her husband, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, were reportedly discussing possible replacements for Kelly in early February.

Many believed Kelly’s initial defence of Porter to be damaging not only to Trump politically, but to Kelly’s own reputation as well.

Kelly’s perceived image as a stabilizing force in an administration in constant flux seemed to be fading away.

“Kelly is now just another staffer who could get fired any day of the week by Donald J. Trump,” one person close to the White House previously told Business Insider’s Allan Smith. “Not that I expect him gone today or tomorrow. This is a lesson in what happens when the stabilizing force becomes the agent of chaos.”

Amid the Porter debacle and rumours of his coming departure, Kelly has tried to keep a low profile.

“Trying to keep below the radar particularly after the Porter issue and my involvement was so inaccurately covered,” Kelly recently told The New York Times.

But his temporary withdrawal from the public sphere may not be enough to repair the damage done to his reputation, The Times noted, pointing to his shortage of allies in Trump’s inner circle and his decreasing base of support among those who believe he can still be an effective moderating force in a White House fraught with internal drama and leaks.

“One Donald is bad enough,” Philippe Reines, a longtime supporter of Kelly and former aide to Hillary Clinton, said in a tweet during the Porter controversy on February 8. “We don’t need two. That’s what John Kelly has succumbed to. That’s what he has become.”

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