An email obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveals a previous interaction between White House chief of staff John Kelly and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that led to him insulting her.
'Insulting and abusive behavior'
The email from Kelly was sent during his time as secretary of Homeland Security in February 2017 and obtained by Buzzfeed News. Warren had spoken to Kelly and his staff via phone about her frustrations in regard to a restraining order on President Donald Trump's ban on travel from terrorist-stricken countries.
“Absolutely most insulting conversation I have ever had with anyone,” Kelly wrote to his aide about Warren.
“What an impolite arrogant woman," he continued. "She immediately began insulting our people accusing them of not following the court order, insulting and abusive behavior towards those covered by the pause, blah blah blah.”
Here's Warren's version of the story
On Thursday evening, Warren released a statement explaining her version of the heated interaction with Kelly.
"You probably remember," Warren wrote. "Right after Donald Trump became President, one of his first orders of business was launching an illegal, bigoted Muslim ban."
"We all felt powerless at the time," she continued, "Republicans had just won the White House and both branches of Congress — but my staff and I wanted to do something about it. So we tried to get answers from the Department of Homeland Security about their policy of illegally detaining Massachusetts residents (and their family members) at Boston Logan Airport."
Warren says that her staff contacted Kelly but he wouldn't respond. So she called him directly.
"When I finally did get on the phone with John Kelly, I asked if he had an office number that I could use in the future to get in touch more quickly," she continued. "He brushed me off, directing me to use the main line listed on the Department of Homeland Security's website (really). Even worse, he bizarrely insisted that I'd made the whole thing up and we'd never tried to reach him in the first place."
'Blah blah blah'
Warren claims her staff was stunned with Kelly's denials, and implied that Kelly's email response was due to sexism.
"I don't know about John Kelly," Warren said, "but there are some men who can only hear 'blah blah blah' whenever a woman's talking."
Warren ended her response with a parenthetical jab at Trump's social media habits.
"He can't even get Donald Trump off Twitter, and as far as I can tell, that was his main job description when he took on the role of White House chief of staff," she concluded.
Warren has been a vehement critic of Trump and his policies, which has raised the ire of the president. Even before he was elected, he criticized Sen. Warren and mocked her for her poorly corroborated claim that she has some Native American lineage.
"Isn’t it funny when a failed Senator like goofy Elizabeth Warren can spend a whole day tweeting about Trump & gets nothing done in Senate?" he tweeted in May 2016.