On Wednesday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called on Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) to issue an apology for his “disgraceful” comments made toward White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly last week.
“General Kelly has served his country in the Marines and he is serving his country again in this administration. He is truly an American patriot,” McCarthy said.
“What is disgraceful is to attack the character of such an honorable man who has dedicated his life to serving this country and whose family gave the ultimate sacrifice,” he continued.
In 2010, General Kelly’s son, First Lieutenant Robert Kelly, was killed in action in Afghanistan. He is the highest-ranking military officer to lose a child in battle.
Gutierrez has been exchanging words with Kelly this week over Trump’s decision to wind down President Obama’s executive order DACA, which deferred deportation for almost 800,000 people brought to the United States illegally as children.
A press release sent out by Gutierrez’s office last week described General Kelly as “a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear. He has no honor and should be drummed out of the White House along with the white supremacists and those enabling the President’s actions by ‘just following orders.'”
“He’s a politician, okay, not a general. I don’t see a uniform. He’s a politician who works for Donald Trump,” Gutierrez said at a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute event on Tuesday.
Kelly responded in an email with Fox News: “As far as the congressman and other irresponsible members of congress are concerned, they have the luxury of saying what they want as they do nothing and have almost no responsibility.”
In the email, Kelly explained his efforts as Chief of Staff and formerly as Secretary of Homeland Security in getting Congress to find a legislative solution for DACA since the beginning of the Trump administration.
“I begged and pleaded with them. They did exactly nothing,” he said.
Kelly added that the blame for DACA’s end should rest on the illegality of Obama’s executive order rather than singularly on Trump’s decision.
“Every DOJ and DHS lawyer says DACA is unconstitutional. Every other legal scholar — right and left — says the same thing. Trump didn’t end DACA, the law did. That said, I worked and succeeded to give the Congress another six months to do something,” Kelly said.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) defended Kelly, saying that Gutierrez should “sit down with a Republican in the House and try to find a solution instead of slandering General Kelly.”