John Kelly reportedly called women more emotional than men. The White House defended him.

NBC News reports that Kelly’s remarks “rattled” female staffers.

John Kelly is about to be on President Donald Trump’s bad side again, after an NBC News report that suggested the chief of staff thinks his boss is an “idiot” and that Kelly sees himself as the person standing between Trump and the destruction of the country.

The report also includes accusations that Kelly made comments that belittled female staffers, saying women are more emotional than men and bristling in private about the accusations made against Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary who was forced out after his ex-wives accused him of domestic violence.

According to the NBC News report, Kelly has denied the allegations and NBC’s account, calling them “total BS.”

“I am committed to our President, his agenda, and our country,” Kelly said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg News. “This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration’s many successes.”

But the Trump administration isn’t exactly denying the accusations of sexism. The unnamed White House officials who pushed back on the report said Kelly is a “gentleman” who won’t let men curse when “a lady is present,” and one spokesperson broadly defended the idea that women are more emotional than men (without confirming that the chief of staff said it).

Kelly reportedly treats female staffers differently

Kelly’s attitude toward (and language about) Trump will likely be the factor that determines his future in the White House. But the NBC News report offers some discouraging insight into how women are viewed in the White House — and not just by Kelly.

Kelly has “rattled” female staffers with his remarks, reports NBC News, including telling aides more than once that “women are more emotional men.” He made such remarks at least once in front of the president, according to four current and former staffers.

The White House representatives, meanwhile, defended Kelly as the “bigger gentlemen,” who stops aides from cursing in front of their female colleagues. The White House officials also said it was “possible” that Kelly had referred to women as more emotional than men, but, per NBC News, agreed that “generally speaking” that what Kelly allegedly said was true:

The White House spokespeople said they haven’t seen Kelly have a negative effect on the morale of women staffers. If anything, they said during meetings Kelly is the “bigger gentleman” who steps in when aides use foul language to note “a lady is present” and similarly says he shouldn’t use foul language in front of a lady if he’s used an expletive. The spokespeople, who would not speak for the record, said it’s possible Kelly may have said women are more emotional than men, with one of them agreeing that “generally speaking, women are more emotional than men.”

The White House clearly views this as a defense of Kelly, but it also suggests that Kelly treats women differently in the workplace based on their gender, seeing them as needing to be protected from hearing words their colleagues use freely.

Meanwhile, according to NBC News, Kelly has fumed privately about the attacks on Porter. The White House, with Kelly out in front, initially defended Porter against the allegations until it became clear that the FBI and White House officials knew of the allegations against him, who was unable to obtain full security clearance.

Kelly at first defended Porter publicly as a man of “man of integrity and honor.” He then tried to walk backed his public praise after Porter resigned, saying he was “shocked” at the allegations against Porter. But Kelly had been aware of the allegations against Porter for months and hadn’t acted.

And privately, according to NBC News, Kelly remained concern about Porter’s well-being:

And during a firestorm in February over accusations of domestic abuse against then-White House staff secretary Rob Porter, Kelly wondered aloud how much more Porter would have to endure before his honor could be restored, according to three officials who were present for the comments. He also questioned why Porter’s ex-wives wouldn’t just move on based on the information he said he had about his marriages, the officials said.

Even before the Porter scandal, Kelly was involved in several incidents that suggested he held some reactionary views about women. He defended a Marine colonel who sexually harassed female subordinates, according to a report in the New York Times. He has suggested allowing women in combat would result in pressure to “lower standards.” He told a false story about a female member of Congress that was meant to suggest she was a grandstanding empty suit, as he lamented that once “women were sacred, looked upon with great honor.”

And, of course, Kelly willingly went to work for a president accused by multiple women of sexual harassment and assault, first as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and now as his chief of staff.

source: vox

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