Remarks made days after former chief of staff confirmed reports about Trump’s derogatory attitude to members of US army
Donald Trump called his former chief of staff John Kelly a “lowlife with a very small brain and a very big mouth” after the former marines general confirmed reports about the ex-president’s derogatory attitude to members of the US armed forces.
In posts to his Truth Social platform, days after Kelly spoke to CNN, Trump said his former aide was “by far the dumbest of my military people … incapable of doing a good job” as chief of staff or, before that, homeland security secretary.
“It was too much for him, and I couldn’t stand the guy, so I fired him like a ‘dog’,” wrote the former president, who made his name as a reality TV host with the catchphrase “you’re fired” – but who has been widely reported to be averse to confrontation when it comes to letting people go.
Kelly left the Trump administration in December 2018. After that, he was widely believed to be a source for stories in reports and books detailing Trump’s dismissive attitude to wounded and dead soldiers and their families.
This week, Kelly – whose son, Robert M Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan in November 2010 – went on CNN to discuss such stories on the record.
Kelly also called Trump “a person who is not truthful regarding his position on the protection of unborn life, on women, on minorities, on evangelical Christians, on Jews, on working men and women.
“A person that has no idea what America stands for and has no idea what America is all about. A person who cavalierly suggests that a selfless warrior who has served his country for 40 years in peacetime and war should lose his life for treason – in expectation that someone will take action.
“A person who admires autocrats and murderous dictators. A person that has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our constitution, and the rule of law.
“There is nothing more that can be said. God help us.”
In response, Trump had plenty more to say.
Kelly, he said, “had no heart or respect for people, so I hit him hard – made no difference to me. He’s already on record defending me all over the place. Nobody loves the military like I do! Now he finally speaks back by making up fake stories, or confirming the made-up stories of the Dem[ocrats] and radical left.
“He’s a lowlife with a very small brain and a very big mouth … numerous people are angry and upset because they know they will never be in a new Trump administration, but only for one reason, they’re not nearly good enough. Kelly would be among those at the top of the list!”
Despite facing 91 criminal charges (for election subversion, retention of classified information and hush-money payments) and civil threats including a fraud trial and a defamation trial arising from a rape allegation a judge deemed “substantially true”, Trump leads 2024 Republican presidential polling by wide margins.