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Trump lashes out over Kelly criticism: 'He misses the action'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign slams Facebook after thousands of ads blocked by platform's pre-election blackout Mnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' Harris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden MORE on Thursday tore into his former chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, deriding his job performance and accusing him of breaching decorum after Kelly openly criticized the president's rhetoric and decisionmaking. 

Trump lashed out at Kelly after reports circulated that his former chief of staff and Homeland Security secretary defended migrants, the press and Lt. Col. Alexander VindmanAlexander VindmanCIA impeachment whistleblower forced to live under surveillance due to threats: report Alexander Vindman to publish memoir about being a witness in Trump impeachment John Kelly called Trump 'the most flawed person' he's ever met: report MORE, who was reassigned from his post after testifying against Trump in the impeachment inquiry.

"When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn’t do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head. Being Chief of Staff just wasn’t for him," Trump tweeted. "He came in with a bang, went out with a whimper, but like so many X’s, he misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut, which he actually has a military and legal obligation to do."

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The president went on to claim Kelly's wife told him the former administration official and four-star general respected him "greatly" and "will only speak well of" him.

Trump nominated Kelly to serve as his Homeland Security secretary before appointing him chief of staff in July 2017. He stayed on in that role for roughly 17 months, stepping down at the end of 2018.

Trump has a tendency to lash out at former administration officials who openly criticize him, having tweeted angrily about former Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonPresident Trump: To know him is to 'No' him Ocasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts Gary Cohn: 'I haven't made up my mind' on vote for president in November MORE, former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonJohn Bolton in heated exchange with BBC anchor over lack of impeachment testimony President Trump: To know him is to 'No' him Obama highlights Biden's tweet from a year ago warning Trump wasn't ready for pandemic MORE and former communications director Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciScaramucci says Trump has united country: 'It just happens to be against him' Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus cases surge in the Midwest; Trump hits campaign trail after COVID-19 John Kelly called Trump 'the most flawed person' he's ever met: report MORE, among others.

Kelly appeared Wednesday night at a Drew University event in New Jersey, where he laid out a number of disagreements with Trump's policies and comments.

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Kelly defended Vindman, saying he acted properly in reporting his concerns with Trump's July 25 call with the Ukrainian president. He said the media is "not the enemy of the people," dismissing an attack frequently deployed by the president. Kelly described migrants as "overwhelmingly good people," an implicit rebuke of Trump's warnings of dangerous caravans and the need to curb immigration. 

Kelly's tenure was marked by his turbulent relationship with Trump. Kelly tried to rein in some of the president's more impulsive behavior and curb leaks within the White House, but the administration continued to struggle with infighting and controversy.

His successor, Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyGaffes put spotlight on Meadows at tough time for Trump Trump says he may lower corporate tax rate to 20 percent if reelected Is Social Security safe from the courts? MORE, has been acting chief of staff for more than 400 days. Mulvaney has in the past been critical of Kelly's approach to the job, saying it hurt morale.