John Kelly, Donald Trump’s former chief of staff, has released a damning statement claiming the president did call service members who died fighting ‘losers and suckers.’ Kelly went on to support separate claims Trump didn’t want to include military amputees at a 2018 White House military event, when he allegedly said their presence ‘doesn’t look good for me.’ In a statement to CNN, Kelly wrote: ‘What can I add that has not already been said? A person that thinks those who defend their country in uniform, or are shot down or seriously wounded in combat, or spend years being tortured as POWs are all ‘suckers’ because ‘there is nothing in it for them.’
He added: ‘A person that did not want to be seen in the presence of military amputees because “it doesn’t look good for me.” A person who demonstrated open contempt for a Gold Star family – for all Gold Star families – on TV during the 2016 campaign, and rants that our most precious heroes who gave their lives in America’s defense are “losers” and wouldn’t visit their graves in France.’ Kelly served under Trump from 2017 to 2019 and says he directly witnessed many of the claims he now claims he can verify. He also alleges that his former boss lied about his stance on key issues including abortion, with the 45th president claiming to be staunchly pro-life. Kelly did not offer further details on the alleged hypocrisy.
Kelly concluded his screed with ‘God help us,’ suggesting he is none too-pleased about the thought of a second term in office for Trump. Kelly said Trump has not been ‘truthful regarding his position on the protection of unborn life,’ but did not clarify further. He was moved to take action after Trump accused Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley of treason. Trump became aggressive after an unflattering Atlantic magazine piece detailed the former president’s alleged slurs about a disabled vet invited by Milley to sing at a 2019 event. In the piece, claims that Trump unleashed a vile tirade about a disabled war hero who sang at a military event over the IED victim’s appearance were made. The article referenced Milley’s welcome ceremony in Virginia where Army captain Luis Avila’s wheelchair struggled to move after the ground was sodden by rain.
Avila was a five-tour veteran who was blown up in an IED attack in Afghanistan , and was chosen by Milley to sing ‘God Bless America’ at the event. Avila is an amputee who’s suffered a stroke, a heart attack and brain damage – with Milley choosing him to sing in the belief that he was a true American hero. But after the veteran’s wheelchair almost toppled, Trump allegedly told Milley – within earshot of several witnesses – ‘Why do you bring people like that here? No one wants to see that, the wounded.’ Kelly’s comments all but confirmed the claims made in The Atlantic piece. In a previous story published by The Atlantic, editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg alleged that Trump turned to Kelly during a Memorial Day service in 2017 and remarked about his confusion regarding the sacrifices made by soldiers. At the time, Kelly and Trump were standing among the headstones in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery where Afghanistan and Iraq war vets were laid to rest.
‘I don’t get it. What was in it for them?’ Trump allegedly said to Kelly. That same day, Trump and Kelly laid flowers on the grave of Kelly’s son – Robert Michael Kennedy – who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010. Trump also got into hot water for his comments about prisoners of war (POWs), including his public and on-the-record statements about Sen. John McCain. McCain, an Arizona Republican and Vietnam POW, was ‘not a war hero,’ according to Trump via a speech he made in 2015, three years before McCain’s death from cancer. ‘He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,’ the then presidential hopeful said.
Behind closed doors, the attacks on the well-respected military vet did not stop. Goldberg’s article alleged that Trump used to repeatedly call McCain a ‘loser.’ It also stated Trump would refer to former President George H. W. Bush, a Navy vet whose plane was shot down in World War II, as a ‘loser’ as well. Trump himself dodged the draft a total of five times, once for ‘heel spurs’ in his foot and four times for college.
Kelly’s statement also commented on the attacks Trump launched prior to the 2016 election regarding the Gold Star Khan family. Khizr Khan (pictured) spoke during the Democratic National Convention that year and gave a tribute to his son Humayun, who received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart after he was killed by a bomber in Iraq in 2004. Ghazala Khan – Khzir’s wife and Humayun’s mother – stood quietly during the speech while wearing a headscarf. ‘If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me,’ Trump said. Kelly’s remark about Gold Star families references Trump’s 2018 visit to France where the former president was set to visit a Paris gravesite for World War I American soldiers.
Several key staff members said Trump had no interest in visiting the cemetery because, ‘Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.’ An article around the same time reported that Trump called the 1,800 Marines killed in the Belleau Wood ‘suckers’ for getting killed. ‘Those are the heroes,’ Kelly said. ‘In our society, there’s only one group of people who are more heroic than they are – and they are buried over in Arlington.’ Additionally, Kelly alleged that Trump spent a significant portion of his campaign and presidency lying to constituents about his true beliefs on major issues. ‘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,’ Kelly continued.
He also called the former president and four-time indicted individual 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.’ Trump was criticized throughout his one-term presidency for admiring the rules of Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and even North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. ‘There is nothing more that can be said,’ Kelly concluded. ‘God help us.’ CNN reached out to Trump’s team for a statement Monday prior to publishing the story with Kelly’s comments but came back with insults aimed at Milley. Campaign officials reportedly insulted Milley’s character and credibility despite him having nothing to do with the story.
The statements come just days after CNN spoke with former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson who warned that ‘Donald Trump is the most grave threat we will face to our democracy in our lifetime, and potentially in American history.’ Several other members of Trump’s inner circle have spoken out about the former president, warning of the dangers he allegedly presents. Former secretary of defense, Mark Esper, told CNN in November 2022 that he thinks Trump is ‘unfit for office.’ ‘He puts himself before country. His actions are all about him and not about the country. And then, of course, I believe he has integrity and character issues as well,’ Esper said. Former attorney general, Bill Barr, told CBS earlier this year that he believes Trump is ‘a consummate narcissist.’ ‘And he constantly engages in reckless conduct. … He will always put his own interests, and gratifying his own ego, ahead of everything else, including the country’s interests,’ Barr continued. ‘Our country can’t, you know, can’t be a therapy session for you know, a troubled man like this,’ Barr shared. Read the full story: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12586911/John-Kelly-says-Donald-Trump-did-insult-wounded-vets-lies-stance-abortion.html?ito=msngallery
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