John Kelly says Donald Trump did insult wounded vets and lies about his stance on abortion

John Kelly, Donald Trump’s former chief of staff, has released a damning statement confirming multiple insulting comments the ex-president made about military veterans.

The comments allegedly focused on wounded vets and prisoners of war. He also claimed that Trump lied about his stance on key issues including abortion, with the 45th president claiming to be staunchly pro-life. 

In a statement to CNN, Kelly – who served under Trump from 2017 to 2019 – said he personally witnessed many of the president’s closed-door attacks. He concluded his screed with ‘God help us,’ suggesting he is none too-pleased about the thought of a second term in office for Trump. 

Without naming his former boss, Kelly described Trump as: ‘A person that thinks those who defend their country in uniform, or are shot down or seriously wounded in combat, or spend years being tortured as POWs are all ‘suckers’ because ‘there is nothing in it for them.” 

He went on to note that Trump allegedly ‘did not want to be seen in the presence of military amputees because ‘it doesn’t look good for me.” 

Kelly also said that he believes Trump has not been ‘truthful regarding his position on the protection of unborn life,’ among other hot-button topics in politics. 

President Donald J. Trump greets Army Captain Luis Avila during the Armed Forces Welcome Ceremony at Joint Base Myer in Virginia, USA, on September 30, 2019

President Donald J. Trump greets Army Captain Luis Avila during the Armed Forces Welcome Ceremony at Joint Base Myer in Virginia, USA, on September 30, 2019

President Donald Trump stands with John Kelly in a photo from 2017

President Donald Trump stands with John Kelly in a photo from 2017

The bombshell statement from CNN on Monday started with Kelly stating: ‘What can I add that has not already been said?

Continuing on, the political advisor and retired U.S. Marine Corps general seemingly commented on recent reports about Trump. 

Just last month, The Atlantic released a wide-ranging profile on outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, a frequent Trump critic.

John Kelly’s blistering statement in full 

‘What can I add that has not already been said?

‘A person that thinks those who defend their country in uniform, or are shot down or seriously wounded in combat, or spend years being tortured as POWs are all ‘suckers’ because ‘there is nothing in it for them.’ 

‘A person that did not want to be seen in the presence of military amputees because ‘it doesn’t look good for me.’ 

‘A person who demonstrated open contempt for a Gold Star family – for all Gold Star families – on TV during the 2016 campaign, and rants that our most precious heroes who gave their lives in America’s defense are ‘losers’ and wouldn’t visit their graves in France.

‘A person who is not truthful regarding his position on the protection of unborn life, on women, on minorities, on evangelical Christians, on Jews, on working men and women.

‘A person that has no idea what America stands for and has no idea what America is all about. A person who cavalierly suggests that a selfless warrior who has served his country for 40 years in peacetime and war should lose his life for treason – in expectation that someone will take action. 

‘A person who admires autocrats and murderous dictators. A person that has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution, and the rule of law.

‘There is nothing more that can be said. God help us.’

In the piece, claims that Trump unleashed a vile tirade about a disabled war hero who sang at a military event over the IED victim’s appearance were made. 

The article referenced Milley’s welcome ceremony in Virginia where Army captain Luis Avila’s wheelchair struggled to move after the ground was sodden by rain. 

Avila was a five-tour veteran who was blown up in an IED attack in Afghanistan, and was chosen by Milley to sing ‘God Bless America’ at the event. Avila is an amputee who’s suffered a stroke, a heart attack and brain damage – with Milley choosing him to sing in the belief that he was a true American hero.

But after the veteran’s wheelchair almost toppled, Trump allegedly told Milley – within earshot of several witnesses – ‘Why do you bring people like that here? No one wants to see that, the wounded.’ 

Kelly’s comments all but confirmed the claims made in The Atlantic piece. 

‘A person that did not want to be seen in the presence of military amputees because ‘it doesn’t look good for me,” Kelly’s statement read, referencing Trump. 

In a previous story published by The Atlantic, editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg alleged that Trump turned to Kelly during a Memorial Day service in 2017 and remarked about his confusion regarding the sacrifices made by soldiers. 

At the time, Kelly and Trump were standing among the headstones in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery where Afghanistan and Iraq war vets were laid to rest. 

‘I don’t get it. What was in it for them?’ Trump allegedly said to Kelly. 

That same day, Trump and Kelly laid flowers on the grave of Kelly’s son – Robert Michael Kennedy – who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010. 

Kelly’s new statement directly referenced this phrase while discussing ‘a person,’ presumed to be the former president. 

‘A person that thinks those who defend their country in uniform, or are shot down or seriously wounded in combat, or spend years being tortured as POWs are all ‘suckers’ because ‘there is nothing in it for them,’ Kelly stated. 

Trump also got into hot water for his comments about prisoners of war (POWs), including his public and on-the-record statements about Sen. John McCain. 

McCain, an Arizona Republican and Vietnam POW, was ‘not a war hero,’ according to Trump via a speech he made in 2015. 

‘He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,’ the then presidential hopeful said.

Behind closed doors, the attacks on the well-respected military vet did not stop.   

Goldberg’s article alleged that Trump used to repeatedly call McCain a ‘loser.’ 

It also stated Trump would refer to former President George H. W. Bush, a Navy vet whose plane was shot down in World War II, as a ‘loser’ as well. 

Trump and Kelly laid flowers on the grave of Kelly's son - Robert Michael Kennedy - who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010. Trump allegedly said to Kelly 'what's in it for them' while discussing those who died in wars on the same day

Trump and Kelly laid flowers on the grave of Kelly’s son – Robert Michael Kennedy – who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010. Trump allegedly said to Kelly ‘what’s in it for them’ while discussing those who died in wars on the same day

Donald Trump and Army Captain Luis Avila in 2019. Avila was severely wounded by an IED

Donald Trump and Army Captain Luis Avila in 2019. Avila was severely wounded by an IED

According to Kelly, Trump said that being pictured with amputees 'doesn’t look good for me'

According to Kelly, Trump said that being pictured with amputees ‘doesn’t look good for me’

Sen. John McCain

John McCain is greeted by President Richard Nixon in Washington during the spring of 1973 after spending more than five years in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp

 Trump’s comments on Sen. John McCain and his time as a prisoner of war were addressed by Kelly in the statement to CNN

Kelly’s statement also commented on the attacks Trump launched prior to the 2016 election regarding the Gold Star Khan family. 

Khizr Khan spoke during the Democratic National Convention that year and gave a tribute to his son Humayun, who received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart after he was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004. 

Ghazala Khan – Khzir’s wife and Humayun’s mother – stood quietly during the speech while wearing a headscarf. 

‘If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me,’ Trump said.

‘A person who demonstrated open contempt for a Gold Star family – for all Gold Star families – on TV during the 2016 campaign, and rants that our most precious heroes who gave their lives in America’s defense are ‘losers’ and wouldn’t visit their graves in France,’ Kelly said in his statement to CNN. 

The last part references Trump’s 2018 visit to France where the former president was set to visit a Paris gravesite for World War I American soldiers. 

Several key staff members said Trump had no interest in visiting the cemetery because, ‘Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.’ 

An article around the same time reported that Trump called the 1,800 Marines killed in the Belleau Wood ‘suckers’ for getting killed.

‘Those are the heroes,’ Kelly said. ‘In our society, there’s only one group of people who are more heroic than they are – and they are buried over in Arlington.’

Khan and his wife Ghazala (pictured) on stage at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where the father of late Gold Star veteran criticized Donald Trump

Khan and his wife Ghazala (pictured) on stage at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where the father of late Gold Star veteran criticized Donald Trump

Pictured: Humayun Khan was killed by a car bomb in Iraq back in 2004 at the age of 27

Pictured: Humayun Khan was killed by a car bomb in Iraq back in 2004 at the age of 27

Additionally, Kelly alleged that Trump spent a significant portion of his campaign and presidency lying to constituents about his true beliefs on major issues.

‘A person who is not truthful regarding his position on the protection of unborn life, on women, on minorities, on evangelical Christians, on Jews, on working men and women,’ Kelly continued. 

He also called the former president and four-time indicted individual a ‘person that has no idea what America stands for and has no idea what America is all about.’

‘A person who cavalierly suggests that a selfless warrior who has served his country for 40 years in peacetime and war should lose his life for treason – in expectation that someone will take action. 

‘A person who admires autocrats and murderous dictators. A person that has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution, and the rule of law.’ 

Trump was criticized throughout his one-term presidency for admiring the rules of Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and even North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.  

‘There is nothing more that can be said,’ Kelly concluded. ‘God help us.’

CNN reached out to Trump’s team for a statement Monday prior to publishing the story with Kelly’s comments but came back with insults aimed at Milley. 

Campaign officials reportedly insulted Milley’s character and credibility despite him having nothing to do with the story.

President Donald Trump and John Kelly in a photo from July 2017

President Donald Trump and John Kelly in a photo from July 2017

John Kelly visits the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in Belleau

 John Kelly visits the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in Belleau

The statements come just days after CNN spoke with former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson who warned that ‘Donald Trump is the most grave threat we will face to our democracy in our lifetime, and potentially in American history.’

Several other members of Trump’s inner circle have spoken out about the former president, warning of the dangers he allegedly presents. 

Former secretary of defense, Mark Esper, told CNN in November 2022 that he thinks Trump is ‘unfit for office.’ 

‘He puts himself before country. His actions are all about him and not about the country. And then, of course, I believe he has integrity and character issues as well,’ Esper said. 

Former attorney general, Bill Barr, told CBS earlier this year that he believes Trump is ‘a consummate narcissist.’ 

‘And he constantly engages in reckless conduct. … He will always put his own interests, and gratifying his own ego, ahead of everything else, including the country’s interests,’ Barr continued. 

‘Our country can’t, you know, can’t be a therapy session for you know, a troubled man like this,’ Barr shared. 

source: dailymail.co.uk