CNN's Borger praises John Kelly: 'This is a true leader standing at that podium'

CNN's Borger praises John Kelly: 'This is a true leader standing at that podium'
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CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger on Thursday praised chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE's defense of the president's remarks to a fallen soldier's widow, saying he looked like "a true leader" who "was clearly taking a fall for his boss."

Borger's remarks come after Kelly staunchly defended the president's controversial call to the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed during an ambush in Niger. Criticism had mounted for days over the way Trump had allegedly articulated his thoughts during the conversation, which were deemed "disrespectful" by a Democratic congresswoman, Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonOvernight Defense: Iran worries dominate foreign policy talk | Pentagon reportedly to send WH plans for 10K troops in Mideast | Democrats warn Trump may push through Saudi arms sale | Lawmakers blast new Pentagon policy on sharing info House Dem: Trump could start war with Iran to thwart impeachment Lawmakers celebrate 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote MORE (Fla.), who was by the widow's side during the call.


“First of all, obviously, as we were all sitting here, it was quite emotional for everyone, particularly Kelly," said Borger during a panel discussion moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "But you looked at him at the podium and his description of service and his description of what happens in the field, and you couldn’t help but think this is a true leader standing at that podium."

"Whether it was in the battlefield or now in his new job and the leadership that we saw was somebody who was clearly taking a fall for his boss and said, ‘I did this. This is what I told him.’ And he kept saying, in his own way, this is what Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE was trying to say to this grieving wife," Borger continued.

"And then of course he went on after the congresswoman [Wilson]. I don’t know if Donald Trump put him up to this. I know that he was so affected by it that he went to Arlington and walked around, having a conversation with himself, it was clearly implied, trying to figure out how to handle something that strikes at his heart," Borger added.

"But it does make you sort of see what we’re lacking in this entire discussion which is leadership, answered questions about how things occur, straight and direct answers that we never get. And he took himself into the realm of politics by talking about this congresswoman and in his — and defending Donald Trump and saying, ‘You know, this is basically my fault because I told him what a wife might want to hear.’ ”

The appearance by Kelly in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room marks the second time in a week the four-star Marine general has addressed the press corps and advised the media to develop better sources in its reporting on the administration. 

"When I watch TV in the morning, it is astounding to me how much is misreported," Kelly said.

"I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you are operating off of contacts, leaks, whatever you call them," he said. "But I just would offer to you the advice — maybe develop some better sources."