John Kelly Says Donald Trump ‘Admires Autocrats and Dictators,’ Lies About Pretty Much Everything

“God help us,” the former president’s longest-running chief of staff tells CNN

Two men with light-toned skin set at a large conference table, across from people whose faces are unseen in the foreground. The man on the right looks to the man on the left, who wears a bright red tie and appears to be speaking. The man on the left is then-President Donald Trump.
Donald Trump and John Kelly (Credit: Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly went on the record running down the numerous ways he sees his former boss as falling short of the office. While focusing on Donald Trump’s callous attitude toward American veterans, he also goes after Trump’s record on, well, basically everyone.

Following comments from other Trump administration officials, Kelly told CNN in a statement, “What can I add that has not already been said?”

Kelly confirmed multiple stories that had previously been reported with anonymous sourcing, including pieces that Jeffrey Goldberg wrote for The Atlantic. Kelly laid out what he saw as who Trump is in relation to those who’ve served in the military.

“A person that thinks those who defend their country in uniform, or are shot down or seriously wounded in combat, or spend years being tortured as POWs are all ‘suckers’ because ‘there is nothing in it for them,’” Kelly said. “A person that did not want to be seen in the presence of military amputees because ‘it doesn’t look good for me.’ A person who demonstrated open contempt for a Gold Star family — for all Gold Star families — on TV during the 2016 campaign, and rants that our most precious heroes who gave their lives in America’s defense are ‘losers’ and wouldn’t visit their graves in France.”

Expanding on that, Kelly went on to list the areas he believes Trump lies about. “A person who is not truthful regarding his position on the protection of unborn life, on women, on minorities, on evangelical Christians, on Jews, on working men and women,” Kelly said.

He added that Trump doesn’t understand the idea of this country, emphasizing that he’s “a person that has no idea what America stands for and has no idea what America is all about.”

Kelly went on to criticize Trump for his attacks on Mark Milley, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs under both Trump and President Joe Biden.

“A person who cavalierly suggests that a selfless warrior who has served his country for 40 years in peacetime and war should lose his life for treason — in expectation that someone will take action,” Kelly said.

Adding his final descriptors for Trump, Kelly said, “A person who admires autocrats and murderous dictators. A person that has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution, and the rule of law.”

He finished, “There is nothing more that can be said. God help us.”

The Trump campaign responded to CNN’s request for comment with further attacks on Milley, going after his character and credibility. Milley had nothing to do with the story, according to the news outlet. CNN did not tell the Trump campaign which former official’s comments they were reaching out about ahead of publication.


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