Kelly says Trump can't admit to making mistakes: 'His manhood is at issue here'

President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race Iran says onus is on US to rejoin nuclear deal on third anniversary of withdrawal Assaults on Roe v Wade increasing MORE’s former chief of staff, John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, said that his former boss can’t admit to making mistakes because “his manhood is at issue here.”

Kelly made the dig during a conversation with Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciAnthony Scaramucci joining CNBC as a contributor Biden doubles down on normal at White House Pence, other GOP officials expected to skip Trump send-off MORE, Trump’s short-term White House communications director, on Tuesday, the Des Moines Register reported.

Kelly said Trump needs to appeal to Americans for peace after a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol last week as lawmakers met to certify President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenDefense lawyers for alleged Capitol rioters to get tours of U.S. Capitol Sasse to introduce legislation giving new hires signing bonuses after negative jobs report Three questions about Biden's conservation goals MORE’s victory. The House is expected to impeach Trump, who spoke to his supporters before the siege, on Wednesday over his role in the rioting.


“I don't care what the issue is, that you have an absolute right to protest, an absolute right to say what you want, but you have no right to break things, to destroy things," Kelly said. "You have absolutely no right to do violence."

Scaramucci asked Kelly why the president "was having a hard time doing that."

"The man does not ever, ever, ever want to appear weak ... or that he might have been wrong," Kelly responded.

Kelly added that “great leaders, good leaders” have to admit when they’ve made a mistake.

"He doesn't have the ability to do that. His manhood is at issue here,” he said of the president. 

Thousands of the president's supporters descended on Washington, D.C., last week to protest the certification of the electoral results affirming Biden as the next president after Trump spent weeks refusing to concede and insisting the election had been "stolen."


Pro-Trump mobs later overwhelmed law enforcement and stormed the Capitol complex, ultimately leading to the deaths of five people including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick.

Trump has yet to acknowledge his role in the mayhem or publicly comment on Sicknick’s death. The president said Tuesday that he felt his comments to supporters on the day of the riots were "totally appropriate."

Kelly has been relatively quiet in the time since he left the administration in December 2018 but called for Trump's Cabinet to discuss using the 25th Amendment to remove the president.

“The Cabinet should meet and have a discussion. I don’t think it will happen, but I think that the Cabinet should meet and discuss this because the behavior yesterday and the weeks and months before that has just been outrageous from the president,” Kelly said during a telephone interview with CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperCNN's Jake Tapper questions giving some GOP leaders airtime Cheney slams Trump on 'big lie' over election Biden adviser on schools reopening in the fall: 'We can't look in a crystal ball' MORE on Thursday.

“And what happened on Capitol Hill yesterday was a direct result of his poisoning the minds of people with the lies and the frauds,” Kelly continued.

Asked if he would vote to remove Trump from office if he were still in the Cabinet, Kelly paused and answered, “yes.”

Vice President Pence rebuffed calls from Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDefense lawyers for alleged Capitol rioters to get tours of U.S. Capitol Gaetz, Greene tout push to oust Cheney: 'Maybe we're the leaders' Free Speech Inc.: The Democratic Party finds a new but shaky faith in corporate free speech MORE (D-Calif.) and other Democrats to invoke the 25th Amendment, saying it would “set a terrible precedent.”

In the wake of the riot, Kelly has also said that America should "look infinitely harder" at who is elected to office.  

“We need to look infinitely harder at who we elect to any office in our land. At the office seeker’s character, at their morals, at their ethical record, their integrity, their honesty, their flaws, what they have said about women and minorities, why they are asking office in the first place, and only then consider the policies they espouse,” Kelly said in statement.