President Donald Trump lashed out at his former chief of staff, John Kelly, after he said Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was doing his job by voicing concerns about the president’s now-infamous phone with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
Trump claimed on Twitter on Thursday that Kelly, who left the position at the end of 2018, was in “way over his head” and “misses the action.”
“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 [and] 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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2020
Additionally, Trump claimed that Kelly’s wife, Karen, told him her husband would “only speak well of you” after he left the position.
At an event at Drew University on Wednesday, Kelly defended Vindman’s decision to report his concerns about Trump’s July 25 phone call to his superiors, “He did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave.”
Kelly has previously spoken out about the impeachment inquiry, Last fall he said he warned Trump against hiring a “yes man” to be his chief of staff.
“I said, whatever you do, don’t hire a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth — don’t do that,” he said, adding, “Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached.”
In response to those comments, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham claimed that Kelly was “totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great president.”
Trump denied that Kelly ever issued such a warning, “John Kelly never said that, he never said anything like that.”
“If he would have said that, I would have thrown him out of the office. He just wants to come back into the action like everybody else does,” he added.
Additionally, Kelly commented on recent reporting that former National Security Advisor John Bolton wrote in a draft of his new book that Trump told him military aid to Ukraine was contingent on an investigation of Democrats.
“If John Bolton says that in the book I believe John Bolton,” Kelly said.