Former national security adviser John Bolton on Thursday came to the defense of former chief of staff John Kelly after President Trump lashed out over a series of criticisms Kelly made during an appearance at a New Jersey university.
“John Kelly is an honorable man. John and I have disagreed at times, as is commonplace at senior government levels, but he has always served his country faithfully,” Bolton tweeted. “Conservatives especially have a responsibility to reject baseless attacks upon him.”
Bolton and Kelly overlapped during their time at the White House, and their relationship was not always cordial. The two reportedly engaged in a shouting match in October 2018 during a heated argument about immigration.
But they have defended each other at points after they both came under attack from Trump.
Trump ripped Kelly earlier Thursday in response to the former chief of staff’s comments during a lecture series event at Drew University. Kelly defended impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, said the media is “not the enemy of the people,” and described migrants as “overwhelmingly good people.”
“When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn’t do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head. Being Chief of Staff just wasn’t for him,” Trump tweeted. “He came in with a bang, went out with a whimper, but like so many X’s, he misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut, which he actually has a military and legal obligation to do.”
Kelly, who also served as the Homeland Security secretary, stepped down as chief of staff in January 2019.
Trump has also repeatedly gone after Bolton as excerpts of his forthcoming book have leaked out. The president accused Bolton of being a warmonger, claimed he “begged” for a job and asserted his former adviser clashed with other White House officials.
Kelly, however, offered support for Bolton after Trump denied allegations levied in the book.
“If John Bolton says that in the book, I believe John Bolton,” he said.
The Hill: John Bolton defends John Kelly after Trump criticism
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