Accepting the Republican nomination for president three years ago, Donald Trump told delegates in Cleveland, “I alone can fix it.”
John Kelly, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, offered an alternative on Saturday: Aides alone can fix it.
Speaking at the Washington Examiner’s Sea Island Summit, Kelly took an implicit swipe at his embattled successor, Mick Mulvaney, by recounting a warning he said he offered the president as he left the job.
“I said, ‘Whatever you do’—and we were still in the process of trying to find someone to take my place—I said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t hire a yes-man, someone who won’t tell you the truth. Don’t do that. Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached,’” Kelly said. He said he has “second thoughts” about his resignation in December. “It pains me to see what’s going on, because I believe if I was still there, or someone like me was there, he would not be kind of all over the place.”
The comments are noteworthy not only because Kelly has been mostly quiet since leaving the White House. Kelly’s premise is that without aides who are willing to stand in his way, the president of the United States will break the law and abuse his power, and will ask his aides to break the law.