John Kelly, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, was caught on a hot mic on Wednesday joking with Donald Trump that he use a sword on the press.
The comment came after the president had addressed graduates at the US Coast Guard commencement ceremony in New London, Connecticut, during which he complained about how he is treated by the media.
Having given the keynote speech, Mr Trump was handed the ceremonial saber by the Coast Guard Class of 2017 as a "token of our appreciation".
DHS chief caught on hot mic jokingly telling Trump to use his new ceremonial Coast Guard saber on the press https://t.co/pQcjGf4Wtj pic.twitter.com/FuVhABr4z5
— CNN (@CNN) May 17, 2017
As the president then sat down, Mr Kelly turned to him and said: "Use that on the press, sir."
Chuckling, the president responded: "Yeah, that’s right."
During his speech, the president said he had been treated unfairly by members of the media.
"Look at the way I have been treated lately, especially by the media," he said during the ceremony.
"No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse and more unfairly. You can’t let them get you down, you can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams.
Trump: No politician has been treated worse or more unfairly
"I guess that’s why we won. Adversity makes you stronger. Don’t give in, don’t back down. … And the more righteous your fight, the more opposition that you will face."
Mr Trump has been facing a string of controversies in recent weeks.
After firing FBI chief James Comey, he then shared classified information with the Russians.
His troubles continued on Tuesday when it was reported that Mr Comey had written a memo, in which he claims Mr Trump asked him to end the the investigation into his national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Profile | General John F Kelly