Kelly says undocumented immigrants 'don't have the skills' to assimilate

Transcript: White House Chief Of Staff John Kelly's Interview With NPR

Transcript: White House Chief Of Staff John Kelly's Interview With NPR

When asked specifically if the Russian Federation probe was a "cloud" hanging over the Trump administration, Kelly said the investigation comes up in meetings with world leaders.

Asked about the embarrassment comment, Kelly told a group of reporters later Friday that he "corrected that and said 'distracted."' Asked if the president was distracted by the probe, Kelly said, "It's untrue, it's a witch hunt, right, and it distracts him - not too much, but it's unfair".

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a campaign rally on May 10, 2018 in Elkhart, Indiana.

Kelly said many of those with temporary protected status, or TPS, resulting from natural disasters or conflict have lived in the United States for decades, and that Congress should act.

He added: "My view is to speak truth to power".

While Kelly's role in the administration appears to have diminished of late, he told NPR that he has a close relationship with Trump and said he has never considered leaving the White House. Despite occasional "periods of great frustration", he characterized Trump as a "pretty bright" and "super smart" guy, and again brushed off persistent rumors that he daydreams about quitting his job and retiring to a quiet life of self-loathing.

On WNYC public radio Friday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio shot back at Kellys world view on immigrants, noting his grandmother came from rural Italy, spoke no English and had limited skills and now her grandson is mayor of NY. In the countries they come from, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are kind of the norm.

"It's not that things were a disaster that first six months, but I believe they could have been better", he explained. I always give my opinion on everything. But either way, Kelly's words matter, because it suggests strongly that he wants to stay on as chief of staff, at least for now. The New York Times reported that she had drafted but not submitted a resignation letter after Trump lambasted her at a meeting for failing, in his view, to secure United States borders. President Trump apparently yelled at Ms. Nielsen and blamed her for the issues at the border.

A DHS spokesman denied the story.

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