Bush ethics chief: Trump has ‘no understanding of human emotions’
© Greg Nash

The Bush administration’s ethics chief blasted President Trump for invoking the death of John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE’s son to defend a false claim that former President Obama didn’t call the families of fallen soldiers.

Richard Painter, the ethics chief for former President George W. Bush, said that Trump using Kelly’s son’s death shows that Trump “has no empathy” for others.


Painter was responding to a CNN report that Kelly didn’t know Trump would publicly reveal that Obama hadn’t called him after his son’s death in Afghanistan.

“I think we’ve seen over and over again that President Trump has no empathy for those who serve abroad in our wars, who have been captured like John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe peculiar priorities of Adam Schiff Ocasio-Cortez fires back at Lindsey Graham: 'Graham wants to bring back 1950s McCarthyism' Meghan McCain knocks Lindsey Graham for defending Trump's tweets: 'This is not the person I used to know' MORE, or those who have been killed or the families of those who have been killed, in the case of Gen. Kelly,” Painter said.

“He has no empathy, no understanding of human emotions that people go through because he stayed home during Vietnam with his sore foot or whatever it was,” he said.

Trump is facing major backlash for comments he is said to have made to the widow of a soldier who was killed in an ambush in Niger two weeks.

Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonDemocratic lawmaker says officials tried to keep her from migrant girls during facility tour Democratic outrage grows over conditions at border detention centers The Hill's Morning Report - Harris, Warren rise and Biden tumbles after debates MORE (D-Fla.) said Trump told the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson that Johnson “knew what he signed up for but when it happens it hurts anyway.”

Trump denied making the comments, but Johnson’s mother confirmed Wilson’s account.

Painter said that while Trump’s actions were “atrocious,” Kelly has to stay in the White House to protect the country from “dangerous people” like Breitbart News head Stephen Bannon.

“He owes it to our country because there are very dangerous people out there, Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, a number of others that are pushing to get Gen. Kelly out so we can get the extremists back in the saddle in the White House,” Painter said.

“And that’s what puts our troops in danger.”