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John Kelly’s Last Statement Before Departing Has Left The White House In Total Shock, Trump Livid

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John Kelly, former Chief of Staff to President Donald Trump and therefore one of the most senior figures in the entire White House, fairly recently became the latest senior member of the administration of President Trump to drop the mic and leave. Continuing the trend of President Trump arguing viciously with everyone he can think of, especially when it comes to his own former employees, Kelly and Trump have been in a bit of an online feud ever since. Essentially, it all centers around an interview Kelly gave to the Los Angeles Times in which he laid into the President and many of his policies in a quite extraordinary fashion.

Kelly leaves as Trump has been cocooned in the White House as a partial government shutdown moves into a second week over his demands for $5 billion for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The president has responded by firing off angry tweets at Democrats, who refuse to provide more than $1.3 billion for border security, rather than seeking to negotiate a solution. The stalemate also highlights the distance, at least in language, between Kelly and Trump over the president’s signature promise — to build a wall.

“To be honest, it’s not a wall,” Kelly said.

When Kelly led Homeland Security in early 2017, one of his first steps was to seek advice from those who “actually secure the border,” Customs and Border Protection agents whom Kelly calls “salt-of-the-earth, Joe-Six-Pack folks.”

“They said, ‘Well we need a physical barrier in certain places, we need technology across the board, and we need more people,’ ” he said. “The president still says ‘wall’ — oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats. But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it.”

Asked if there is a security crisis at the southern border, or whether Trump has drummed up fears of a migrant “invasion” for political reasons, Kelly did not answer directly, but said, “We do have an immigration problem.” From the 1980s to the mid-2000s, apprehensions at the border — the most common measure of illegal immigration — routinely reached more than 1 million migrants a year. Today, they are near historical lows. In the fiscal year that ended in September, border authorities apprehended 521,090 people. But immigration officials are seeing a dramatic rise in families and unaccompanied minors at the border, mostly from Central America.

Kelly saw the corruption and violence that spurred migrations from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, first as head of the Pentagon’s Southern Command, which stretches from South America to Mexico’s southern border, then at Homeland Security. He says that experience has given him a nuanced view on immigration and border security — one that at times appears at odds with Trump’s harsh anti-immigration messaging and policy.

“Illegal immigrants, overwhelmingly, are not bad people,” Kelly said, describing many migrants as victims misled by traffickers. “I have nothing but compassion for them, the young kids.”

But he blamed immigrants and lawmakers, not the White House, for the tense situation at the border, where thousands of Central Americans are stranded in Mexico — and two Guatemalan children have died in Border Patrol custody in Texas and New Mexico this month.

“One of the reasons why it’s so difficult to keep people from coming — obviously it’d be preferable for them to stay in their own homeland but it’s difficult to do sometimes, where they live — is a crazy, oftentimes conflicting series of loopholes in the law in the United States that makes it extremely hard to turn people around and send them home,” Kelly said. “If we don’t fix the laws, then they will keep coming,” he continued. “They have known, and they do know, that if they can get here, they can, generally speaking, stay.”

On Saturday, Trump blamed Democrats for the deaths of the two migrant children this month. He also threatened to cut off U.S. aid to Central America if another reported migrant caravan isn’t stopped. Kelly didn’t respond to Trump’s threats directly but suggested part of the problem lies on the U.S. side of the border.

“If you want to stop illegal immigration, stop U.S. demand for drugs, and expand economic opportunity” in Central America, he said.

Kelly faulted the administration for failing to follow procedure and failing to anticipate the public outrage for the two most controversial initiatives of his tenure: Trump’s travel ban in January 2017, and the “zero tolerance” immigration policy and family separations this year.

Reading this, a massive overreaction from Trump was inevitable. It is remarkable how quickly former White House employees’ loyalty seems to slip away, which is probably testament to the shockingly poor leadership of the current President.


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