U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the incoming chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, had some tough parting words for John Kelly, who left his post as White House chief of staff today. Kelly, a four-star Marine Corps general, briefly served as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security from January 2017 to July 2017, before succeeding former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
“It is truly sad that John Kelly, who served the country admirably in the military, has had his reputation and service tarnished by serving President Trump both at DHS and the White House,” Thompson said in a statement. “Over the past two years, General Kelly seemed completely unable or unwilling to stand up to the president as he continues to take the country down a dark path. He has little of substance to show for his tenure in this administration. General Kelly is no victim however — and it is clear that history will not be kind to his complicity and willingness to blindly serve this president.”
Kelly spent 45 years in the Marine Corps and retired as the commander of U.S. Southern Command, which he led from 2012 to 2016. He described his role at the White House as a “bone crushing hard job, but you do it,” in an exclusive interview with the Los Angeles Times, and said that he routinely woke up at 4 a.m. and went home at night at 9 p.m. He also said that his job performance should be judged by the actions the president did not take in the last 18 months.
Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas), the 115th Congress chairman of the committee, did not release a statement on Kelly’s departure, but retweeted a message from former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) thanking the general for his service.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) December 8, 2018