John Kelly tells Anthony Scaramucci he agrees with James Mattis' blistering rebuke of Trump

Donald Trump and John Kelly
(Image credit: Getty Images)

President Trump's former defense secretary blasted him this week, and the president's former chief of staff is agreeing.

Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was interviewed Friday by former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, and they spoke about former Defense Secretary James Mattis recently denouncing Trump as someone who "tries to divide us."

"None of us would take making a statement like that lightly, but there is a concern, I think an awful big concern, that the partisanship has gotten out of hand," Kelly said. "The tribal thing has gotten out of hand. ...He's quite a man, General Jim Mattis, and for him to do that tells you where he is relative to the concern he has for our country."

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Asked if he agrees with Mattis, Kelly said yes, "I agree with him," adding, "I think we need to step back from the politics" and "look harder at who we elect" to examine their "character" and "ethics." Kelly warned against sending members of the military to quell protests "unless it's an extremist situation."

Kelly also expressed disapproval of law enforcement officials using using pepper spray to clear protesters out of Lafayette Square so Trump could walk to St. John's Church for a photo-op, saying he would have "recommended against it." And asked by Scaramucci if Trump is a "very stable genius" like he's said, Kelly had no comment on whether he's "stable or unstable."

Kelly had previously rebutted Trump's claim that he fired Mattis, saying the president "has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused." Speaking on this point, Kelly observed Friday that "over time, every relationship" at the White House "begins to deteriorate," not that Scaramucci, who infamously was fired from the White House after just 10 days, wouldn't know.

"I don't have to tell you that," Kelly joked.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.