Retired Marine general John Kelly, a Brighton native, was brought in to restore order to a reportedly chaotic White House. Initially, the stern-faced Kelly seemed to be a needed counterweight behind the scenes to the mercurial President Trump.
But he found himself embroiled in controversy this week over his handling of a top aide accused of spousal abuse. And it’s not the first time the chief of staff has been in the media spotlight rather than behind the scenes.
Here are several of the other dustups he’s been involved in:
■ Kelly earlier this week suggested that some young immigrants were “too lazy to get off their asses” and apply for the legal protections available to them under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Immigrant advocates, “Dreamers,” and Democratic lawmakers cried foul.
■ Kelly seemed to be at odds with his own boss last month when he told a members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that Trump had not been “fully informed” when he promised a wall along the Mexican border. Kelly said he had educated Trump and Trump had “evolved” on the wall concept.
■ Last October, Kelly called Confederate general Robert E. Lee an “honorable man” and suggested that an inability to “compromise” had caused the Civil War. Historians roundly criticized his ideas, saying they were “strange” and “dangerous.”
■ Also last October, he got entangled in controversy over a call by Trump to a grieving military widow. African-American Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson, who had known the soldier since he was a child, was in the car with the widow when she got the call. Wilson said Trump’s tone was not respectful. Kelly lashed out at Wilson, criticizing her remarks at a 2015 building dedication ceremony, saying she came from a “long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise.” A video of her speech showed his recollection was wrong, but he wouldn’t apologize.