President Donald Trump's former Chief of Staff, retired General John Kelly had some strong critiques for his former boss in recent remarks at the Drew University Forum lecture series.
General Kelly responded to Trump firing Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who was ousted from the National Security Council after complying with a Congressionally approved subpoena to testify about the President's dealings with Ukraine. Vindman's brother—an NSC lawyer—was fired as well, despite playing no part in the impeachment proceedings.
That was just the beginning of Kelly's critiques.
According to the Washington Post, Kelly divulged a litany of grievances about Trump's actions, including his North Korea policy and his rhetoric regarding immigrants.
It was still Vindman's firing that seemed to irk him the most:
"[Vindman] did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave. He went and told his boss what he just heard...We teach them: Don't follow an illegal order, and if you're ever given one, you'll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then tell your boss."
He then went on to criticize Trump's constant belligerence against the media:
"The media, in my view, and I feel very strongly about this, is not the enemy of the people...We need a free media. That said, you have to be careful about what you are watching and reading, because the media has taken sides. So if you only watch Fox News, because it's reinforcing what you believe, you are not an informed citizen."
He then addressed Trump's immigration policies—and immigrants themselves.
"[T]hey're overwhelmingly good people They're not all rapists, and they're not all murderers. And it's wrong to characterize them that way. I disagreed with the president a number of times."
We'd be remiss not to note that Kelly took a job with Caliburn International—the parent company of the largest child migrant detention facility in the United States.
Right on cue, Trump responded on Twitter.
When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn’t do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head. Bei… https://t.co/TIDVIxnwfP— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1581609874.0
This isn't the first time Kelly has criticized Donald Trump since leaving the White House, but people had strong reactions—and few of them absolved the General.
Kelly's self-serving remarks are garnering much credulous reporting. "Trump rhetoric on migrants was wrong." Yeah,… https://t.co/IuzFfQb8wT— Walter Shaub (@Walter Shaub) 1581600561.0
hey, let's chat about John Kelly. he was down with the Muslim ban. he was totes cool with caging migrant babies. he… https://t.co/pWigXIRLQ2— Jeff Tiedrich (@Jeff Tiedrich) 1581600995.0
John Kelly is on his rehab tour. Count me out. Where was he when Trump was locking kids up on the border? (Hint: right beside him).— John Weaver (@John Weaver) 1581601180.0
I see John Kelly trending. Just some reminders: As WH CoS he said “lack of ability to compromise led to the Civil W… https://t.co/txq2MOZa7P— Jessica Shortall 🧂 (@Jessica Shortall 🧂) 1581601252.0
Nice to see John Kelly’s Please Forgive Me Tour is off to a strong start. Would have been nice if he had spoken out a long time ago.— David Cicilline (@David Cicilline) 1581602878.0
Good to have General Kelly speak out, however belatedly. Says all the right things, especially that Lt. Col. Vindma… https://t.co/WqAUxf5uIp— Richard Stengel (@Richard Stengel) 1581598187.0
John Kelly finally found the ability to honestly criticize Trump - in a small college auditorium. Helpful? Maybe.… https://t.co/cQaGptbMZx— The Hoarse Whisperer (@The Hoarse Whisperer) 1581588591.0
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham—who's never held a daily press briefing in her seven months on the job—said of Kelly's words:
"I was in the room with him when he actually backed the president on many of the things he's now saying weren't great. I thought it was a little disingenuous."
It's likely that Kelly has more to tell.