John Kelly has made it clear that he’s opposed to Donald Trump. A few weeks ago in Florida Kelly went on record saying that John Bolton was a man of great integrity and principle and that he trusted Bolton to tell the truth. Now, in a recent article in The Atlantic, Kelly has characterized Alexander Vindman as “blameless” and said he was right in not following “an illegal order.” These words apparently had the effect of pushing Donald Trump further into the crazy zone.
….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
It’s no wonder that this drove Trump nuts, because he wants the Army to discipline Vindman further and here Kelly is saying that Vindman’s conduct was flawless. The Atlantic:
“He did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave,” Kelly told the audience at the Mayo Performing Arts Center. “He went and told his boss what he just heard.”
“Through the Obama administration up until that phone call, the policy of the U.S. was militarily to support Ukraine in their defensive fight against … the Russians,” Kelly said. “And so, when the president said that continued support would be based on X, that essentially changed. And that’s what that guy [Vindman] was most interested in.”
When Vindman heard the president tell Zelensky he wanted to see the Biden family investigated, that was tantamount to hearing “an illegal order,” Kelly said. “We teach them, ‘Don’t follow an illegal order. And if you’re ever given one, you’ll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then tell your boss.’”
If you don’t think them’s fightin’ words, try these, with respect to Kim Jong Un:
“He will never give his nuclear weapons up,” Kelly said. “Again, President Trump tried—that’s one way to put it. But it didn’t work. I’m an optimist most of the time, but I’m also a realist, and I never did think Kim would do anything other than play us for a while, and he did that fairly effectively.”
At times Wednesday, Kelly sounded like the anti-Trump. He said he did not believe the press is “the enemy of the people,” for example. And he sharply criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Trump has steadfastly courted. Kelly described Putin as someone who is “not necessarily a rational actor.” Putin sits atop “a society in collapse,” yet is intent on restoring “the glory days of the Soviet Union,” he said.
And then it got even worse:
Kelly said most migrants are merely looking for jobs. “In fact, they’re overwhelmingly good people … They’re not all rapists and they’re not all murderers. And it’s wrong to characterize them that way. I disagreed with the president a number of times.”
If there’s one must-read article of the day, it’s this Atlantic piece. It’s obviously got Trump foaming at the mouth. It appears that John Kelly is trying to stitch back together the tatters of his reputation and take Trump down a peg or two at the same time. Good. Carry on.