White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Photo: AFP Contributor / Contributor/Getty Images
Ex-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said Saturday at a Washington Examiner panel discussion that before he left his position last year, he cautioned President Trump not to hire "a yes man" as his replacement or he'd risk impeachment.
What they're saying: Trump responded to Kelly's comments later on Saturday, saying: "John Kelly never said that, he never said anything like that. If he would have said that I would have thrown him out of office. He just wants to come back into the action like everybody else does," per CNN.
- White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham responded to Kelly's observations, stating: “I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President,” CNN reports.
- Kelly also expressed regret on Saturday about his exit, adding he could have helped Trump avoid the present impeachment inquiry had he surrounded himself with those who could curb his worst instincts. “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 said.
- At a second panel on Saturday, Kelly also weighed in on Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria as a “catastrophically bad idea."
Between the lines via the Washington Post: Kelly's candid comments imply "he blames acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and others in the West Wing for not doing more to stop Trump’s behavior."