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What White House staffers said that’s raising eyebrows

For the Trump administration, it's been a week of big news abroad, from Iran to North Korea. But on Friday, there was a new swirl of questions around statements from inside the White House. Yamiche Alcindor reports.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    For President Trump, it's been a week of big news abroad on Iran and North Korea. But, tonight, there's a new swirl of questions about statements from within his own team.

    White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor has our report.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The White House schedule was all business.

  • President Donald Trump:

    We have at this table the biggest car manufacturers in the world.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    A morning meeting with President Trump and auto industry CEOs, and an afternoon announcement on prescription drug prices. But a series of other issues intruded, including Chief of Staff John Kelly's comments on immigration during an NPR interview.

    He said there should be a way for certain immigrants to be allowed to work and live in the U.S. temporarily, and — quote — "be on a path to citizenship."

    But Kelly went on, with a statement that raised eyebrows.

  • John Kelly:

    The vast majority of people that move illegally into the United States are not bad people. They are not criminals. They are not MS-13.

    But they're also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States. They are overwhelmingly rural people. In the countries they come from, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are kind of the norm.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security denied that Kelly's successor as secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, had been close to resigning this week. The New York Times had reported that Nielsen almost quit after the president berated her for falling short on immigration enforcement.

    Mr. Trump took the opposite tack today on his EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt. He is still under fire over potential ethical lapses and spending issues.

  • Question:

    Mr. President. Do you still have confidence in Administrator Pruitt, Mr. President?

  • President Donald Trump:

    Yes, I do. Thank you.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    White House aide Kelly Sadler also came under criticism today. She reportedly dismissed Senator John McCain's opposition to CIA nominee Gina Haspel.

    McCain has brain cancer, and several news accounts quoted Sadler as saying, "It doesn't matter. He's dying anyway."

    McCain's daughter, Meghan, responded on "The View."

  • Meghan McCain:

    I don't understand what kind of environment you're working in when that would be acceptable, and then you can come to work the next day and still have a job.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The White House today refused to confirm Sadler's comment, but did say she still works for the White House. It did previously put out a statement saying — quote — "We respect Senator McCain's service to our nation."

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.

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