Kelly told Trump: Don’t hire ‘yes man’ #Trump

Implies he could have helped stave off House inquiry

  • (FILES) In this file photo taken on February 02, 2018, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly looks on as US President Donald Trump meets with North Korean defectors in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC. - US President Donald Trump on Saturday, December 8, 2018, announced his chief of staff John Kelly would be leaving the administration at the end of the year -- the latest in a series of moves by the Republican leader to change his inner circle of aides. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP)ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP or licensors

    (FILES) In this file photo taken on February 02, 2018, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly looks on as US President Donald Trump meets with North Korean defectors in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC. – US President Donald Trump on Saturday, December 8, 2018, announced his chief of staff John Kelly would be leaving the administration at the end of the year — the latest in a series of moves by the Republican leader to change his inner circle of aides. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP)ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images less

Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS

Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS

Washington

John Kelly, the former White House chief of staff who detested the job, expressed regret Saturday about leaving and implied that he could have helped stave off the impeachment inquiry now threatening Trump’s presidency.

Kelly, who left barely on speaking terms with the president, said he warned his boss to pick a successor in his mold, meaning someone who would push back against him. “I said, whatever you do, don’t hire a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth — don’t do that,” Kelly said, according to The Washington Examiner, which covered his remarks at a political summit it hosted in Sea Island, Ga. “Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached.”

Kelly left the administration last December and has since joined the board of Caliburn International, the umbrella organization of a company that runs the largest housing facility for migrant children.

On Saturday, he did not mention his successor, Mick Mulvaney, by name. But his comments appeared to pin the blame for the impeachment inquiry on Trump’s embattled acting chief of staff, who said at a news conference this month that aid to Ukraine had been withheld because the president wanted to pressure the country to investigate his political rivals, only to later backpedal.

“I have an awful lot of, to say the least, second thoughts about leaving,” Kelly said. “It pains me to see what’s going on, because I believe if I was still there or someone like me was there, he would not be kind of, all over the place.”

During his early days as chief of staff, Kelly, a retired four-star general, was credited for bringing order to a chaotic West Wing. But by the end, he found the task of managing Trump to be impossible and often complained to colleagues that the role was thankless.

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