Gutiérrez defends attacks on Kelly, calls top Trump aide 'mean'

Gutiérrez defends attacks on Kelly, calls top Trump aide 'mean'
© Greg Nash
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) on Tuesday defended his attacks on White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, calling President Trump's senior aide "mean" for standing aside while the administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
 
"He’s a politician, okay, not a general. I don’t see a uniform. He’s a politician who works for Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump Right way and wrong way Five things to know about the elephant trophies controversy MORE,” said Gutiérrez, according to The Washington Post.
 
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Kelly and Gutiérrez have been trading barbs since last week, when Gutiérrez called the former four-star Marine general "a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear."
 
Gutiérrez took issue over the White House's announcement that it would end DACA, an Obama-era program that gave work permits and deferral from deportation to nearly 800,000 people brought to the country illegally as children.
 
As secretary of Homeland Security earlier this year, Kelly repeatedly pledged sympathy toward DACA recipients and told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus he was their best ally in the Trump administration.
 
Still, Gutiérrez and other critics have lashed out after the administration announced last week that it would phase out DACA.
 
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock Graham on Moore: 'We are about to give away a seat' key to Trump's agenda Tax plans show Congress putting donors over voters MORE (R-S.C.), who has pushed for legislation helping DACA recipients, defended Trump's chief of staff, saying Gutiérrez should “sit down with a Republican in the House and try to find a solution instead of slandering Gen. Kelly.”
 
Kelly, who has maintained that Congress should legislate a solution for DACA recipients, fired back at the Illinois Democrat in an email Monday to Fox News.
 
“As far as the congressman and other irresponsible members of Congress are concerned, they have the luxury of saying what they want as they do nothing and have almost no responsibility,” Kelly said. “I begged and pleaded with them. They did exactly nothing.”
 
The administration's plan to wind down DACA after six months has put pressure on Congress to take action to protect the affected immigrants.
 
But Congress has yet to coalesce around a proposal for so-called Dreamers — the thousands of DACA recipients and other immigrants brought illegally to the country as children.
 
Gutiérrez said last week that he was building a coalition of Democrats who would refuse to vote on budget and debt-ceiling deals in December unless a solution for Dreamers was passed by then.
 
Kelly took credit Monday for the administration's six month reprieve, saying the program's shaky legal footing was responsible for ending it.
 
“Trump didn't end DACA, the law did. That said, I worked and succeeded to give the Congress another six months to do something,” Kelly said in his email to Fox News.
 
Gutiérrez said he could "understand" while his criticism of the well-respected retired Marine general could rub some the wrong way, while defending his line of attack.
 
"What could be more mean and more vicious than to say you’ve got six months to pack up your bag and to leave the United States of America?” Gutiérrez said, according to the Post.