John Kelly reportedly grabbed a former Trump official by the collar and pushed him against the wall during a heated argument

  • White House chief of staff John Kelly reportedly grabbed Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump's former campaign manager, by the collar and pushed him against the wall during an argument in February.
  • Lewandowski reportedly did not physically respond to the incident.
  • The Secret Service was called, and the two men calmed down.

White House chief of staff John Kelly reportedly grabbed Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump's former campaign manager, by the collar and pushed him against the wall outside the Oval Office during an argument in February, according to a New York Times report published Monday.

The altercation began after Trump met with Kelly and Lewandowski, people briefed on the incident said to The Times. Kelly reportedly complained that Lewandowski had profited from Trump through his contract with a Trump-supporting political action committee.

Kelly also highlighted some of Lewandowski's public remarks against him, which concerned his response to a scandal involving Trump's former staff secretary, Rob Porter. The former staffer was accused of emotionally and physically abusing his ex-wives. Kelly and other White House officials at the time gave contradicting accounts about how they dealt with the allegations.

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White House Chief of Staff John Kelly speaks on his phone in a hallway outside the room where U.S. President Donald Trump was meeting with Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly delivers speech at the Secretary of Interior Building in Mexico City, Mexico, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (L) before a briefing on hurricane relief efforts in a hangar at Muniz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, U.S. October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly speaks about immigration reform at a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner look on as U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks before meeting with Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his delegation at the White House in Washington, U.S. September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly testifies before a Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S. May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly testifies before a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly speaks about border security during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 2, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly delivers a statement accompanied by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Mexico City, Mexico February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (L) and First Lady Melania Trump (lower right) listen as U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (R) shows the time to U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley (L) as they attend a session on reforming the United Nations at U.N. Headquarters in New York, U.S., September 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (C) stands in an adjacent cabin as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters in the press cabin aboard Air Force One on his way to Washington after viewing damage from Hurricane Irma in Florida, U.S. September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly listens as U.S. President Donald Trump makes remarks to reporters before meeting with a bipartisan group of members of Congress at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (L) and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway (R) attend Kuwait's Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and U.S. President Donald Trump's news conference after their meetings at the White House in Washington, U.S. September 7, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly stands before a Medal of Honor ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (R) arrives with fellow staff to board Air Force One with U.S. President Trump for travel to New Jersey from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly looks down at his phone as he boards Air Force One in Hagerstown, Maryland, U.S., hours after it was announced that Trump Senior Adviser Steve Bannon left the administration August 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly looks on as he listens to Mexico's Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong (not pictured) delivering a joint message at the Secretary of Interior Building in Mexico City, Mexico, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly arrives to Secretary of Interior Building before addressing the media, in Mexico City, Mexico, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly testifies before a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly takes questions from the media while addressing the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 12, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly leans on the Resolute Desk during a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly speaks during a daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
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Trump reportedly had to take a phone call and Lewandowski and Kelly continued their heated conversation in the hallway.

Kelly then called someone to see Lewandowski out of the building, which fueled the argument, according to The Times. After Lewandowski raised his voice, Kelly grabbed him by the collar and pushed him against the wall.

Lewandowski did not respond to the escalation, several people familiar with the incident told The Times. Secret Service agents responded to the disturbance, the newspaper said, but Kelly and Lewandowski decided to let it go.

Kelly, the former four-star Marine Corps general hired to establish order in the White House, has had numerous confrontations with other senior White House officials during his tenure.

He is believed to have quarreled with first daughter Ivanka Trump and senior adviser Jared Kushner over their nearly unfettered access to the president.

Despite the president's repeated denials, numerous reports suggest Trump's relationship with Kelly to be irreparably damaged. Trump has reportedly mused about firing Kelly, and at the same time, Kelly is also believed to have threatened to quit his post.

The alleged incident marks another dramatic episode in the Trump administration. Current and former officials have described the White House as one filled with infighting and backstabbing, according to several published tell-alls and memoirs from people who have since left the White House.

Lewandowski, who left the Trump campaign in the middle of the heated 2016 US presidential election, remains a staunch loyalist and continues to defend Trump.

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