WASHINGTON — White House chief of staff John Kelly said Monday that a report that he called President Trump an idiot is “total BS.”

Kelly, in a statement, said he and Trump have “an incredibly candid and strong relationship.”

“He always knows where I stand and he and I both know this story is total BS.”

NBC reported Monday that Kelly has on multiple occasions criticized Trump’s knowledge on issues such as immigration, and has cast himself as protecting the country from Trump’s impulses. The report added that Trump was growing tired of Kelly’s attitude.

Trump appeared to react to the report on Twitter Monday evening. He tweeted: “The Fake News is going crazy making up false stories and using only unnamed sources (who don’t exist).”

In recent months, Trump has chafed at Kelly’s controlling management style, and has occasionally talked with friends about replacing him. In his early days in the White House, Kelly imposed strict controls on access to Trump, though his influence has waned somewhat, aides said. Kelly allies insist he has merely trained the staff to follow his management protocols, but officials note that Trump has grown more willing to act unilaterally, ignoring or simply not seeking out the advice of his top aide.

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