Another feud seems to have erupted between President Trump and his former chief of staff John Kelly after the four-star general publicly criticized his former boss for what he sees as poor decisionmaking.
Speaking at a Drew University event on Wednesday in New Jersey, Kelly openly critiqued some of President Trump’s policies and even defended Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the man who testified during Trump’s impeachment hearings that he felt “concerned” by the president’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine about investigating Joe Biden.
“He did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave,” Kelly said of Vindman. “He went and told his boss what he just heard. 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. 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.”
“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,'” continued Kelly.
The White House relieved Vindman from his post last Friday. It should be noted that former Medal of Honor recipients have publicly scolded Vindman for his conduct during the House probe into President Trump’s handling of Ukraine.
“I respect Donald Trump’s actions on escorting [Vindman] out of the White House, because he, as a team player, he should have brought it up through the chain of command, and then blown the whistle if it didn’t get approved,” Leroy Petry told “Fox & Friends” on Sunday. “I respect his service and I understand he’s a Purple Heart recipient, but being a Purple Heart recipient doesn’t make somebody a hero.”
Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia also said, “Vindman is a very controversial guy, depending on your politics; you either love him or you hate him. Joe Biden gave him a standing ovation. Some people see him as just an emotional kid who just is so partisan and blinded by his politics that he jumped the chain of command and was blinded by being a part of history and politics are more important than his oath.”
According to The Hill, Kelly also said that the media is “not the enemy of the people” while describing migrants as “overwhelmingly good people.”
In response to Kelly’s critique, President Trump tweeted, “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, which he actually has a military and legal obligation to do. His incredible wife, Karen, who I have a lot of respect for, once pulled me aside & said strongly that ‘John respects you greatly. When we are no longer here, he will only speak well of you.’ Wrong!”
….which he actually has a military and legal obligation to do. His incredible wife, Karen, who I have a lot of respect for, once pulled me aside & said strongly that “John respects you greatly. When we are no longer here, he will only speak well of you.” Wrong!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2020