Mullen: 'Sad moment' when Kelly defended Trump over call to fallen soldier's widow

Mullen: 'Sad moment' when Kelly defended Trump over call to fallen soldier's widow
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Retired Adm. Michael Mullen on Sunday expressed disappointment that White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE showed he will defend President Trump "no matter what," even amid the controversy over Trump's call to a fallen soldier's widow in October. 

The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told ABC's "This Week" that the moment showed Kelly "clearly is very supportive of the president no matter what.”


His remarks come after Kelly defended Trump during a White House press briefing in October against the negative backlash over Trump's phone call to the window of a soldier killed in Niger. Trump also went after Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonOn The Money: Harley-Davidson decision raises trade tensions with Trump | Senate panel to take up tariff legislation | CBO projects grim budget outlook under Trump | White House objects to measure on reinstating ZTE ban Dem lawmakers seek distance from Waters call for confrontation Wasserman Schultz: Infants separated from their parents are in Florida immigrant shelters MORE (D-Fla.), who had been present during the widow's call with Trump.

Controversy erupted after the contents of the call were made public, in which the Florida lawmaker said Trump told Myeshia Johnson that her husband "knew what he signed up for."

“It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me,” Kelly said at the briefing. “And I thought at least that was sacred.”

Mullen said that Kelly's comments during the briefing were "really a sad moment for me."

Despite this disappointment, Mullen praised Kelly as well as national security adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary James Mattis and the other military minds the president has put on his team as "great Americans."

Mullen expressed concern, however, about their roles in the administration at a time when divisive partisanship is plaguing the political landscape.

"That doesn't mean generals and admirals can't serve," in the White House, the retired admiral said. "They certainly have in the past. But it's particularly difficult right now because of the politics of the town. And there's nothing that seemingly is not able to be politicized in the current environment," he continued.