John Kelly, John Bolton heard in shouting match outside Oval Office
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John Kelly, John Bolton heard in shouting match outside Oval Office

Washington: President Donald Trump's chief of staff and his national security adviser engaged in a profanity-laced argument outside the Oval Office on Thursday, according to three people familiar with the episode.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, left, talks with, White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, right, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, left, talks with, White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, right, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.Credit:AP

It wasn't immediately clear what the chief of staff, John Kelly, and the national security adviser, John Bolton, were arguing about. The clash is an indication that tension is resurfacing in the White House 19 days before midterm elections in which Republican control of Congress is at stake.

The shouting match was so intense that other White House aides worried one of the two men might immediately resign. Neither is resigning, the people said.

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One source described the argument as a "tense exchange" but said that it had blown over, and that it involved the job performance of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, a former deputy to Kelly. Another source said it was "not a big deal."

Trump, asked about the incident, told reporters: "That I have not heard about."

Kirstjen Nielsen, US secretary of Homeland Security

Kirstjen Nielsen, US secretary of Homeland SecurityCredit:Bloomberg

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement: "While we are passionate about solving the issue of illegal immigration, we are not angry at one another. However, we are furious at the failure of Congressional Democrats to help us address this growing crisis."

Trump threatened on Thursday to deploy the military and close the southern US border as Hondurans and Salvadorans joined thousands of migrants in Guatemala hoping to travel north.

"I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught – and if unable to do so I will call up the US Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!' Trump said in a tweet.

It's not clear if Trump heard the argument. But the people said he is aware of it.

Bloomberg, Reuters