Former White House chief of staff John Kelly pushed back on President Donald Trump for falsely attacking former Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Mattis issued a rare statement condemning Trump’s threats to sic the military on peaceful protesters across the country on Wednesday.
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership,” Mattis said. “We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose.”
Mattis called the assault on protesters outside the White House an “abuse of executive authority” and urged Americans to “reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”
“Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens,” he added.
Trump responded to the statement by firing off a false attack claiming that he gave Mattis his famed “Mad Dog” nickname and that he fired the former general. Mattis resigned in protest of Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria.
“Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General,” he falsely claimed.
“I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was ‘Chaos’, which I didn’t like, & changed to ‘Mad Dog,’” he falsely claimed.
“His primary strength was not military, but rather personal public relations. I gave him a new life, things to do, and battles to win, but he seldom ‘brought home the bacon,” Trump wrote. “I didn’t like his ‘leadership’ style or much else about him, and many others agree. Glad he is gone!”
Kelly hits back:
Kelly rejected Trump's claims, calling Mattis an “honorable man” and decrying Trump’s attack as “nasty.”
“The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation,” Kelly told the Washington Post. “The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused.”