The media who once hated former Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly with every fiber of their being are now awestruck by the former Trump official turning on his boss.
In comments before a Drew University audience Wednesday night, Kelly criticized the president on a number of issues, from firing Democrat impeachment witness Lt. Col. Vindman, to his administration’s illegal immigration policies. The media lapped it up, with CNN even claiming it was former Trump officials’ “public responsibility” to attack the President once they left the administration.
On CNN’s New Day Thursday morning, co-anchor John Berman proposed to political analyst David Gregory that it was former Trump officials, and Republicans in the Senate’s “public responsibility” to call out President Trump. Gregory claimed it was not only their public responsibility but showed their own “personal integrity” when they trash-talked Trump, who was operating a “fog machine” to hide the truth:
BERMAN: What’s the responsibility of a General Kelly, of a General Mattis, of a John Bolton. Of the Republicans in the Senate who will whisper behind closed doors? We always hear, oh, they'll admit behind closed doors the president's actions or his behavior, unacceptable. But what's their public responsibility as you see it?
GREGORY: Well, I think it's going to be a question of their personal integrity. And I think it's interesting that General Kelly's offering these comments. He's not hiding it. He's not necessarily going out of his way to be on the record. John Bolton evidently will share some things in his book. And, you know, as for Republicans, they're simply too scared politically to go against the president. I think this question of personal integrity is important because the president is kind of operating with a fog machine. He takes his grievances against his perceived enemies. And sometimes he's got, you know, legitimate complaints about people, but then what he does is uses the fog machine to create this fog, to create a new narrative that's at odds with the facts. And so what General Kelly is doing here is saying, wait a minute. Let's not demonize Colonel Vindman for doing what we train folks in the not do. Not to follow what he deemed to be an illegal order. So it's an important moment of standing up for someone and trying to push back against that. It seems very little in the context of what’s going on right now but it’s something.
In the hour before on New Day, Gregory called Kelly’s criticism “particularly damning” but scolded him for attacking the media in the past:
“I wish General Kelly would have been that forthright when he was going after the news media for challenging some of his assertions or areas where he didn't stand up to the president when he was in his job. But in this particular case, there's no holds barred,” Gregory noted.