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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFed saw risks to US economy fading before coronavirus spread quickened Pro-Trump super PAC hits Biden with new Spanish-language ad in Nevada Britain announces immigration policy barring unskilled migrants 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 VindmanMSNBC's Nicolle Wallace says she'll 'gladly' vote for Sanders Congress looks to strengthen hand in State Department following impeachment Trump unleashed: President moves with a free hand post-impeachment 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."


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 TillersonTrump lashes out over Kelly criticism: 'He misses the action' Timeline: Trump and Romney's rocky relationship Top Democrat demands Barr recuse himself from case against Turkish bank MORE, former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonOvernight Defense: Dem senator met with Iranian foreign minister | Meeting draws criticism from right | Lawmakers push back at Pentagon funding for wall We should listen to John Bolton The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders on the rise as Nevada debate looms MORE and former communications director Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciScaramucci thanks John Kelly for speaking up against Trump Trump lashes out over Kelly criticism: 'He misses the action' Scaramucci: 'Trump fatigue' could help Bloomberg beat Trump if he wins Democratic nomination 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.


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 MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump declares war on hardworking Americans with new budget request Scaramucci thanks John Kelly for speaking up against Trump Trump lashes out over Kelly criticism: 'He misses the action' 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.