Kelly defends Mattis in war of words with Trump, says president ‘has clearly forgotten’ what really happened

Following former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ scathing rebuke of President Donald Trump this week, former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is piling on with his own critical remarks.

In a Washington Post interview on Thursday, Kelly asserted that Trump did not fire Mattis, as the president claimed in a tweet on Wednesday.

“Probably the only thing Barack Obama [and] I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General,” Trump wrote.

“He did not ask”

The tweet came in response to a statement in which Mattis denounced the president’s leadership throughout his first term — and especially in response to ongoing protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

“The president did not fire him,” Kelly said of the circumstances surrounding Mattis’ departure from the administration, according to Politico. “He did not ask for his resignation. The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused.”

Trump went on to claim he “felt great” about demanding a letter of resignation from Mattis, whom he described as better suited for “personal public relations” than military affairs.

“I gave him a new life, things to do, and battles to win, but he seldom ‘brought home the bacon,'” the president continued.

“Does not even pretend”

For his part, Mattis broke his silence more than a year after leaving the Trump administration, expressing deep concern about Trump’s efforts to divide Americans instead of working to bring them together.

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try,” Mattis wrote, according to The Atlantic.

He urged citizens to “unite without” the president, “drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society.”

Mattis also took issue with Trump’s threat to invoke the Insurrection Act, which would allow him to deploy U.S. military forces on American soil as part of an effort to stop the violence and destruction that has erupted out of protests in many cities.

Mattis and Kelly are not alone in speaking out against the president after parting ways with the White House. Despite the critics, however, Trump seems determined to take whatever action he believes will be in his administration’s best interest.

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