John Kelly Blasted Trump at a University Event
And, naturally, President Trump has already hit back on Twitter.
Former White House chief of staff John Kelly spoke candidly with students and guests about President Trump and his views on Wednesday at Drew University .
The Atlantic reported on Kelly’s 75-minute speech and Q&A session at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in New Jersey, in which he discussed everything from Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman’s firing to ongoing talks with North
“He did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave,” Kelly said, referring to impeachment witness Vindman, who the Trump Administration fired on Friday, days after the President’s acquittal.
As part of his duties, Vindman listened in on the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump propositioned Ukraine to investigate presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“Through the Obama administration up until that phone call, the policy of the U.S. was militarily to support Ukraine in their defensive fight against … the Russians,” Kelly said at the event. “And so, when the president said that continued support would be based on X, that essentially changed. And that’s what that guy [Vindman] was most interested in.”
Among other topics Kelly discussed were Trump’s ongoing talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un about the country’s nuclear program.
“He [Jong-un] will never give his nuclear weapons up,” Kelly said. “Again, President Trump tried—that’s one way to put it. But it didn’t work. I’m an optimist most of the time, but I’m also a realist, and I never did think Kim would do anything other than play us for a while, and he did that fairly effectively.”
Kelly worked as Trump’s chief of staff from July 2017 to the end of 2018. He’d previously served as the administration’s first Homeland Security secretary. Though Kelly helped carry out the administration's aggressive immigration policies to curb immigration, he claimed that he disagrees with Trump’s depiction of immigrants as “rapists” and criminals.
“In fact, they’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,” he said.
On Thursday, Trump fired back at Kelly on Twitter after the Q&A, claiming he “misses the action,” and “just can’t keep his mouth shut.”
When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn’t do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head. Being Chief of Staff just wasn’t for him. He came in with a bang, went out with a whimper, but like so many X’s, he misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut,.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2020