Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told the Washington Examiner that the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump “pains him” and that during his final days on the job, he warned the president not to hire a “yes man” or “you will be impeached.”
Kelly said that while the process of finding his replacement was underway, he told the president, “Whatever you do, don’t hire a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth — don’t do that,” Kelly warned. “Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached.”
Kelly also said he has “second thoughts about leaving,” adding, “It pains me to see what’s going on because I believe if I was still there or someone like me was there, he would not be kind of, all over the place.”
Kelly not only seemed to place Trump’s troubles at the feet of those who currently surround the president, like current Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, but with his grandiose statements, Kelly seems to be painting a rosy picture, as though things went swimmingly while he was chief of staff.
It is well known that since Trump’s inauguration, he has committed a slew of what many consider impeachable offenses. And while on the job, Kelly had his own controversies that did not shine a positive light on the administration. In October, 2017 Kelly not only called Florida Democratic congresswoman Frederica Wilson an “empty barrel” after she was critical of the president, he went on to lie about the congresswoman during a press conference and, when caught, refused to apologize.
Kelly told a story about Wilson boasting about securing $20 million in funding to build a new FBI field office in Miami while at a 2015 dedication ceremony for the building. When video surfaced proving Kelly had made up the story, reporters asked him if he’d apologize, and Kelly said, “Oh, no. No. Never. Well, I’ll apologize if I need to. But for something like that, absolutely not. I stand by my comments.”
Also, in May of 2018 Kelly caught heat for racist comments he made towards immigrants. And then on his way out the door in December 2018, during an exit interview, Kelly admitted that things at the White House were in disarray, and he attempted to distance himself from some unpopular policies put forth by the administration.
Additionally, Kelly was perceived as grossly mishandling accusations of domestic physical and emotional abuse by White House staffer Rob Porter, lying about when he found out about the allegations and what details he knew.
In the recent interview, the retired four-star general and Trump’s former homeland security secretary also weighed in on the president’s decision to vacate northern Syria, abandoning the US’s alliance with Kurdish fighters. Kelly told the Examiner that Trump’s policy was a “catastrophically bad idea” because the Kurds were crucial to keeping ISIS contained, along with helping minimize American casualties in the region.
“What was working in Syria was that for very little investment, the Kurds were doing all the fighting, the vast majority of the dying, and we were providing intelligence and fire support assistance. And we were winning,” Kelly said.