Former Obama aide to White House staff: Stay and right the ship

Greg Nash

Former President Obama’s Homeland Security secretary said Sunday he doesn’t want to see any more defections from President Trump’s advisers.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said he’d tell Trump advisers “you have to stay” in the administration if any of them asked, he told ABC’s “This Week.”

Johnson specifically named White House chief of staff John Kelly, Defense Secretary James Mattis and national security adviser H.R. McMaster.


“I’d say absolutely not” if they asked me if they should resign, Johnson said.

They need to “right the ship,” he said.

Johnson’s comments follow a number of resignations from Trump’s business advisory councils as well as among White House senior staff.

Trump announced the disbanding of his Manufacturing Advisory Council and the Strategic and Policy Forum this week after multiple CEOs resigned. Many CEOs in their resignation letters cited their conscience over Trump’s response to a white supremacist rally that turned violent in Charlottesville, Va., as lacking force or condemnation of the hate groups that organized it.

The White House in the last month also lost chief strategist Stephen Bannon, press secretary Sean Spicer, chief of staff Reince Priebus, communications director Anthony Scaramucci and press aide Michael Short.

Johnson also defended his former boss from a recent wave of criticism that he failed in his previous responses to national crises such as the sometimes violent debate over racism and Confederate monuments currently facing the nation.

A previous appearance by Trump supporter Jerry Falwell Jr. on the ABC program included criticism of Obama for failing to be “bold and truthful” in naming “evil” in the past.

That’s an “unfair suggestion,” according to Johnson.

“He talked to all American people particularly at times like this,” Johnson said of Obama. “His entire career was devoted to bringing people together.” 

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