President Donald Trump on Tuesday asserted that he likes and wants “conflict” among his aides in the White House, as he pushed back against reports of a dysfunctional West Wing.
“It’s tough,” Trump said about working in the White House, during a joint news conference Tuesday afternoon with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.
The president said: "I like having two people with different points of view. And I certainly have that. And then I make a decision. But I like watching it. I like seeing it. And I think it’s the best way to go.”
Earlier Tuesday, Trump suggested in a tweet that he would still like to see some staffing changes.
“The new Fake News narrative is that there is CHAOS in the White House," Trump tweeted. "Wrong! People will always come & go, and I want strong dialogue before making a final decision. I still have some people that I want to change (always seeking perfection). There is no Chaos, only great energy!”
During Tuesday's news conference, Trump was asked whether he was referring in his tweet to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom he has recently criticized. But the president declined to discuss their relationship.
“I don’t really want to talk about that,” Trump said.
Sessions is back in the president’s political crosshairs after announcing that the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz would investigate potential Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuses in the wake of the release of two House Intelligence Committee memos.
Trump, who has previously blasted Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates in the 2016 presidential election, slammed Sessions last week for appointing an “Obama guy” to lead the investigation into potential “massive” surveillance abuses.
Overall, the president said, “the White House has tremendous energy. It has tremendous spirit. It is a great place to be working. Many, many people want every single job.”
Trump said “there will be people that change,” but “they all want to be in the White House.”
“Believe me, everybody wants to work in the White House,” Trump continued. “They want a piece of the Oval Office, they want a piece of the West Wing.”
The Trump administration has had plenty of staff turnover in its first 14 months. Most recently, White House Communications Director Hope Hicks announced her resignation last week.
Hicks stepped into that role after Anthony Scaramucci was forced from the post after just 10 days over the summer.
Also last month, a senior communications official, Josh Raffel, who worked closely with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, left the administration.
Earlier in February, Rob Porter left his post as White House staff secretary amid revelations of past domestic abuse allegations leveled by two ex-spouses. And White House speechwriter David Sorensen also resigned amid domestic abuse allegations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.