Trump hits John Kelly for defense of Jim Mattis

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump on Kanye West's presidential run: 'He is always going to be for us' Marie Yovanovitch on Vindman retirement: He 'deserved better than this. Our country deserved better than this' Trump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' MORE Thursday evening slammed John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, his former chief of staff, for defending James MattisJames Norman MattisBudowsky: Biden-Duckworth would be America's team Trump insulted UK's May, called Germany's Merkel 'stupid' in calls: report Mattis urges people to wear masks in PSA about 'nasty little virus' MORE, his former Defense secretary, after Mattis criticized the president for his response to the nationwide protests.

"John Kelly didn’t know I was going to fire James Mattis, nor did he have any knowledge of my asking for a letter of resignation," he tweeted, saying that Kelly, who stepped down from his role as the president's chief of staff in 2018, wasn't part of Trump's "inner-circle," by that point.

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Kelly earlier on Thursday refuted Trump's claim that he had fired Mattis from his post in 2018, telling The Washington Post “[t]he president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation."

"The problem with asking for someone to give you a letter of resignation, which you do as a courtesy to help them save face, is that it is then harder to say you fired them," Trump said in a following tweet. "I did fire James Mattis. He was no good for Obama, who fired him also, and was no good for me!"

 
 
Mattis on Wednesday issued a blistering statement in The Atlantic, saying Trump was "the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us."

Trump, in response, called Mattis the “world’s most overrated general,”  swiping at his leadership capabilities and claiming his strength was not his military prowess “but rather personal public relations.”  

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Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSixth GOP senator unlikely to attend Republican convention Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump backs another T stimulus, urges governors to reopen schools MORE (R-Alaska) said that she agreed with Mattis, adding that she is "struggling" with deciding if she will vote for Trump.

In response to Murkowski's wavering support, Trump tweeted that he would campaign against her when she's up for reelection in 2022.