Steve Benen (MSNBC/MaddowBlog) reports that Trump’s former chief of staff endorses Mattis’ criticisms. Jim Mattis and John Kelly were not peripheral figures in Trump’s orbit. They saw him operate up close - and they were apparently not impressed.
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis … wrote a rather extraordinary rebuke of Donald Trump on Wednesday, condemning the president for being divisive, immature, and cavalier about abusing his powers. According to a CNN report, the president’s former chief of staff thinks Mattis is right.
Former White House chief of staff John Kelly said Friday he agrees with former Secretary of Defense Gen. Jim Mattis’ stark warning this week that President Donald Trump is “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people” as nationwide protests have intensified over the death of George Floyd. “I agree with him,” Kelly told Anthony Scaramucci, former White House communications director, during a live-streamed interview.
Kelly added, “I think we need to look harder at who we elect. I think we should look at people that are running for office and put them through the filter: What is their character like? What are their ethics?”
We’ve seen plenty of presidents quarrel with aides and allies over the years, but it’s worth pausing to appreciate just how extraordinary these circumstances: a sitting president’s former Pentagon chief and former White House chief of staff worked at his side for two years, and they’re now letting the public know they have some rather serious concerns about their former boss.
What’s more, Mattis and Kelly – two former generals with eight stars between them – made these public declarations the same week, in an election year.
Now added to the list of high ranking officers critical of Trump is “Retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is speaking out against President Trump’s call to use military force to suppress nationwide protests over police brutality.” AZBlueMeanie at Blog For Arizona reports on a NPR interview. Gen. Martin Dempsey condemns Trump’s threat to use military force to suppress protests.