Top Trump aides John Kelly and John Bolton get into heated exchange outside Oval Office: Sources

Kelly (right) speaking to Bolton in the Oval Office at the White House on Oct 10, 2018.
Kelly (right) speaking to Bolton in the Oval Office at the White House on Oct 10, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Two of President Donald Trump's top advisers got into a heated exchange outside the Oval Office on Thursday (Oct 18) as passions boiled over about how to handle illegal immigration, two sources familiar with the incident said.

The two advisers were White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who is a former secretary for Homeland Security, and Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, the sources said.

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."

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.