As has become custom with high-profile departures from the White House, John Kelly — who spent a year and a half defending Trump and his positions (while sometimes signaling his displeasure nonverbally) — is giving an exit interview that is critical of the President, and one in which he also sort of tries to redeem himself by saying things like, “Illegal immigrants, overwhelmingly, are not bad people. I have nothing but compassion for them, the young kids.” He also says that the Administration long ago abandoned the “Wall” (someone should tell that to Trump), and that Kelly should be judged as Chief of Staff by what Trump didn’t do because Kelly stopped him.
The outgoing chief of staff is the one who said this. https://t.co/sTCpPNrC92— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) December 31, 2018
Maggie Haberman is also reporting that Kelly “frequently told people that Mr. Trump was not up to role of president.”
Invariably, my response to all of these situations is 90 percent “go to hell, you complicit shit-stain. Instead of warning us after you leave office, maybe you should have warned us a year ago. Or spoken out against Trump while you were still there.” But there’s also 10 percent of me that’s like, “He’s probably right. It probably could have been a hell of a lot worse,” and while Kelly didn’t really speak out against Trump, dollars to donuts says that a number of the leaks inside the White House probably came from Kelly, who may have been using the media to thwart Trump’s moves, since the media is actually something that Trump will respond to.
Kelly also reiterated what Rex Tillerson said, which is basically that Trump often pressed right up against the boundaries of the law, and that it was probably people like Kelly and Mattis who stopped him from crossing the line. Again, part of me is like, “Let him cross the line so we can impeach him,” but also, this Republican Senate would let Trump turn Trump Tower into the White House and use undocumented workers to demolish the real White House and still wouldn’t impeach him so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
But also, whatever. John Kelly was cruel when it came to children being separated from their parents (though, now he’s blaming Jeff Sessions for that), he shat on Congresswoman Frederica Wilson and never apologized, and he defended Rob Porter. He propped up a dangerous man, and now Kelly is gone and Trump is still there. If Kelly really thinks he should be judged by what Trump didn’t do, he’d have found a way to prevent Trump from doing whatever he’s going to do after Kelly is gone. Kelly should also be judged for whatever calamities Trump is responsible for in the last two years of his Presidency.
At least Mattis had the decency to publicly resign and call Trump out while he was still in office. You will not be missed, John Kelly. I’m sure that Mick Mulvaney can roll over and let Trump do whatever he wants just as well as Kelly, until Trump tires of Mulvaney and boots him, too.