Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has reportedly issued a fiery statement against the White House chief of staff, John Kelly, following the revelation of an email in which he described the Democratic lawmaker as “an impolite arrogant woman.”
In the February 2017 email, obtained by BuzzFeed News through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, Kelly, then the secretary of homeland security, mentioned he had the “absolutely most insulting conversation” with Warren regarding President Donald Trump’s first travel ban.
“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,” Kelly wrote, referring to a temporary restraining order on the travel ban.
Warren, who took part in a demonstration over the ban at Boston’s Logan International Airport, personally reached out to Kelly and demanded answers about the situation, BuzzFeed News said, citing an anonymous congressional source. Kelly reportedly did not respond to Warren for a week and later denied she had tried to make to contact with him.
Warren on Thursday appeared to echo the congressional source’s characterization. The journalist David Dayen published what he said was an emailed statement from Warren saying that she and her staff “tried to get answers from the Department of Homeland Security” but that “there was only one problem.”
“Trump’s new Director of Homeland Security — John Kelly — wouldn’t return our calls and emails,” she reportedly said. “My staff emailed back and forth with his staff, but we couldn’t get them to set up a call or answer our questions.”
The statement went on to claim that when Warren finally made contact with Kelly, he “brushed me off” and instead of providing her with a phone number for his office directed her “to the main line listed on the Department of Homeland Security’s website (really).”
The statement said Kelly “bizarrely” believed Warren was fabricating her story and “insisted I’d made the whole thing up.”
“I happened to be looking at all the emails between his staff and my staff when he said this, so I started reading them to him,” Warren reportedly said. “He accused me again of making it all up. ”
“My policy staffers were in the room,” she added, according to Dayen. “And to this day, I’ve never seen so many jaws drop in unison. It was one of the first times we saw ‘alternative facts’ so up close and personal.”
The statement said Warren continued to press Kelly for a direct line to his office and eventually obtained his cellphone number.
The statement continued scolding Kelly, however, disparaging his role as Trump’s chief of staff, a position he took on after Reince Priebus was ousted in July 2017.
“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,” the statement said.
“‘Blah blah blah.’ That’s all he had to say when he was called out for breaking the law and destroying lives,” the statement said. “And I don’t know about John Kelly — but there are some men who can only hear ‘blah blah blah’ whenever a woman’s talking.”