Donald Trump offered to make John Kelly director of the FBI the day after he fired Director James Comey but the President was clear he wanted Kelly to be loyal only to him.
The extraordinary account is revealed in the new book Donald Trump v. The United States by the New York Times Michael Schmidt. The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist reveals how Trump approached Kelly, who was then Secretary of Homeland Security.
“But the president added something else — if he became FBI director, Trump told him, Kelly needed to be loyal to him, and only him,” Schmidt writes in an extract seen by Axios.
“Kelly immediately realized the problem with Trump’s request for loyalty, and he pushed back on the president’s demand,” the book says.
“Kelly said that he would be loyal to the Constitution and the rule of law, but he refused to pledge his loyalty to Trump.”
As Schmidt points out, this demand for loyalty is what Comey also experienced when dealing with President Trump. The former FBI director would later discuss his exchanges with Trump where loyalty was brought up.
“Kelly has said that having to say no to Trump was like ‘French kissing a chainsaw,'” Schmidt writes.
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media