President Donald Trump responded to an article by Jeffrey Goldberg in “The Atlantic” that claims he disparaged fallen soldiers and poked fun at wounded warriors. Trump said one of the sources behind the story could have been “a guy like” former Chief of Staff John Kelly. Trump then said Kelly couldn’t “function” in his final months as CoS and eventually “petered out.”
QUESTION: Well, my question is sort of about that. I mean, the notable voice that’s been missing from the denials is your former chief of staff, John Kelly, who was obviously intimately involved in this. What — how are we supposed to read the fact that John Kelly hasn’t — TRUMP: Well, look, here’s the thing. I know John Kelly. He was with me, didn’t do a good job, had no temperament, and ultimately he was petered out. He got — he was exhausted. This man was totally exhausted. He wasn’t even able to function in the last number of months. He was not able to function. He was sort of a tough guy. By the time he got eaten up in this world, it’s a different world than he was used to, he was unable to function. And I told him, John, you’re going to have to go. Please give me a letter of resignation. And we did that, and now he goes out and badmouths. Now, there are people that are jealous. There are people that are upset that they’re not here anymore. There are people that we’ve done an incredible job. The virus came in and now we’re doing an incredible job again. We’re going to build it up bigger than it was before the virus came in. But I don’t know that it was him. I haven’t seen it. I mean, I see anonymous, but it could’ve been a guy like a John Kelly because he was– QUESTION: –Did you have (INAUDIBLE) at his son’s grave– TRUMP: –Because–just so you understand, he was a very–you look at some of his news conferences, what happened to him. He got eaten alive. He was unable to handle the pressure of this job. This job was a tough job. Mark Meadows, doing a great job, but Kelly was unable to do that. And as far as that day, I mean, we have so much proof as to going to the–we–I went to Paris and the environs. And I was all set to go. They had a rainstorm the likes of which you rarely see. The fog was so great it was–it was as dense as I’ve ever seen, and I almost knew that you couldn’t use the helicopter. And because they had to drive through I guess certain parts of Paris, the Secret Service, who–by the way, we have people here that were on the trip, they’re writing report–unable to even think about it. And I said nope, I want to go. I insist on going. It would have taken us forever. The Paris police said please, you can’t do this. They’d have to shut down various parts of Paris. And it just was not a possible situation. The helicopter would’ve been very quick. They had the helicopter all set, but the helicopter could never fly in that kind of weather. So–and that turned out–and that’s all documented, by the way. We have all of the information from–and probably release that information. But I think it’s a shame when a second rate magazine — I don’t read it. I know–I know very little about this magazine. But when a second rate magazine can write things like that about somebody that’s done so much for the military, can write things like that and get away with it where you actually ask questions on it, it’s a disgrace. And you want to be ashamed of yourself.