Kelly said that when Vindman overheard Trump telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that he wanted to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, he was guided by what the U.S. military teaches – that you report to your superiors the actions in which you think you’re wrong.
The Atlantic reported that Kelly explained: “We teach them: ‘Don’t follow an illegal order. And if you’ve ever given one, you’ll raise it to anyone who tells you it’s an illegal order, and then tell your boss.”
We have come to an extraordinary time in the United States, when some of the country’s oldest retired military leaders are publicly taking President Trump to the task. Traditionally, these officers have not taken political positions, even in retirement. And now Kelly, who was Trump’s chief of staff in the White House – historically the cabinet official who spends most of his time with the president – is one of those public critics.
While Kelly’s comments are the broadest public criticism of the president and his policies by all generals who have held government positions in the Trump administration, others have also spoken.
In his comments this week, Kelly also poured cold water on one of Trump’s foreign policy projects for pets, a kind of nuclear deal with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, saying “he never thought (Kim) that he would have done more ringing for a while. “And Kelly rejected Trump’s repeated claims that the media are” the enemy of the people “, saying:” We need a free media. “
Kelly is one of several generals who held high profile positions in the Trump administration; among others were the former defense secretary, retired general James Mattis James, and the former national security adviser, lieutenant gen. H.R.M.Master.
Mattis and Kelly have a deep and long-standing relationship. During the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, Mattis and Kelly led the first marine division in Baghdad. When they worked for President Trump, they also worked closely together.
Now that Kelly has made a mark with her criticisms of Trump, could Mattis? I doubt it. Mattis took every opportunity to do so on his book tour in September to promote his memoir, “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead”. Mattis noted in his book, “I’m old-fashioned: I don’t write about presidents on duty.”
As I reported in “Trump and His Generals”, at a party for Mattis in Washington, DC, to celebrate the publication of his memoir, Mary Louise Kelly, the NPR’s “All Things Considered” co-anchor, asked what would Mattis take to publicly criticize President Trump.
Could there ever come a time when he felt he had to speak if he felt that the country was truly in danger? Mattis animated that he would never do so, noting that “Mike Flynn and John Allen – I could no longer disagree with what they were doing”.
Retired Lieutenant Mike Flynn campaigned for Trump and led the songs of “Lock up up!” at the 2016 Republican convention, while Allen, a retired four-star marine general like Mattis, spoke at the Democratic convention the same year and gave his lively speech in favor of Hillary Clinton.