John Kelly, the former Chief of Staff of the White House, said on Friday he shared the views of former Secretary of Defense James Mattis on the current state of the U.S. administration. On Wednesday, Mattis issued a statement in which he outright criticized President Donald Trump's way of leading the country and conducting protests there for a week.
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Kelly was interviewed live on the webcast by the third man fired from Trump’s administration, Anthony Scaramucci, who served as president’s communications manager for just 11 days in the summer of 2017. The set-up is also interesting in the sense that Scaramucci was shelved from his job at the time, specifically at Kelly’s request.
Kelly said she agrees with Mattis about the dangers of Trump’s policy of dividing the people in two.
- I think the terribly big concern is that the division has gotten out of hand. Tribalism has gotten out of hand. We no longer look at each other as co-Americans ... we look at each other as opponents. We do not talk to each other. We shout at each other, Kelly said.
"No president is ever a dictator or a king"
Like Mattis, Kelly did not question the president’s maturity as a leader or suspect his desire to unite the people. However, he said he basically agrees with what the ex-defense minister said.
- I agree. I think we need to distance ourselves from politics. Sharing power is very, very, very important. No president is ever a dictator or a king, Kelly said.
In an interview, he also criticized Trump’s threat to send an army to the street to appease protests sparked by the death of a black man in Minneapolis.
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- The troops hate it, they don't see it as their job. They don’t want to be used that way. Natural disasters are a different matter, with hurricanes and earthquakes, we rely on the help of the U.S. military, Kelly said.
Like Mattis, he is a former general in the armed forces.
"We should look at aspiring people"
Kelly said she would not have recommended Trump a rapture in which she walked from the White House in front of a nearby Episcopal church to pose for the cameras with the Bible in her hand. The rapture has been criticized in the United States even by church leaders.
- I would say that the end result was predictable.
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Although Kelly did not directly criticize Trump’s suitability as president, he urged citizens to think carefully about their position in the upcoming election.
- I think we need to look more closely at who we choose. We should all start doing so, regardless of our political views. We should look at people applying for positions and look at them through a filter to see what their character and ethics are. And if they are elected, they should want to represent all the people in their constituency, not just their support base, Kelly said.
The interview with John Kelly was covered by ABC News, CNBC and CNN, among others.