Secret Service Called Over White House Fight Between Kelly and Lewandowski: Report

The Secret Service was reportedly called in after Chief of Staff John Kelly grabbed former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski by the collar outside the Oval Office last winter, according to a report from The New York Times.

Citing six people familiar with the alleged incident, the Times reported that the scuffle took place on February 21 and started in President Donald Trump's office, with Kelly admonishing Lewandowski over profits he had made from his contract with Trump's re-election political action committee. 

The chief of staff was also reportedly upset about criticisms Lewandowski had made on television regarding Kelly's handling of domestic abuse allegations against Rob Porter, who was White House staff secretary at the time.

GettyImages-1051900634 White House Chief of Staff John Kelly attends the annual meeting of the President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on October 11 in Washington, D.C. The chief of staff reportedly became physical during a February argument with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Mark Wilson/Getty

The spat became physical after the two men exited Trump's office as the U.S. leader took a phone call and Kelly called for someone to remove Lewandowski from the building. As the argument escalated, Kelly grabbed the former campaign manager by the collar and shoved him toward a wall, the Times reported

While Lewandowski did not move to escalate the incident, the Secret Service reportedly became involved, with the two men ultimately deciding to move past the argument, according to The Times.

The incident would have occurred on the same day that families of the victims of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, which claimed 17 lives, visited the White House for a listening session on the attack that reignited debate around gun control in the U.S. 

While the Kelly-Lewandowski scuffle reportedly happened in February, news of it came days after it was reported that Kelly had gotten into a shouting match with National Security Adviser John Bolton over a recent rise in U.S.-Mexico border crossings. Trump said last week that he had not heard about the fight between Kelly and Bolton, which has already fueled speculation that Kelly could soon be on his way out of the White House, with the chief of staff rumored to have been considering his exit for months. 

Read more: Trump on Bolton-Kelly profane shouting match at White House: "That I have not heard about" 

The White House appeared to make light of last week's report, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issuing a statement on Thursday asserting that "while we are passionate about solving the issue of illegal immigration, we are not angry at one another." The White House has yet to comment on the latest report, however, over Bolton's reported skirmish with Lewandowski.

On Sunday, former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, who was fired by Kelly after an 11-day stint in the role, accused the chief of staff of regularly having "hissy fits." 

"He hurt the morale inside the place, and he's hurt the president, and he has hissy fits," Scaramucci said on NBC's Meet the Press.

Asked if he felt any anger toward Kelly over his own firing, Scaramucci said: "He didn't need to fire me the way he fired me."

Admitting that the incident was "upsetting at the time," the former White House communications director said that Kelly had been trying to "make a spectacle" out of his dismissal. "He got the spectacle that he wanted," Scaramucci said.

This article has been updated with more information.

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