John Kelly: U.S. Doesn't Need A Wall Or Troops On The Border, Does Need to Stay in Afghanistan & Syria

Chris Menahan
Mar. 08, 2019

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly spoke at Duke University on Wednesday and said the US doesn't "need a wall from sea to shining sea" or troops on the US border but we do need to stay in Afghanistan and Syria (presumably forever).

From NBC News:
Relatively subdued and cautious, Kelly landed some gloved swipes on his former boss — at one point saying if Trump's former Democratic rival had won the presidency and asked him to serve, he would have worked for her.

“If Hillary Clinton had called me, I would have done it,” Kelly said.
We don't doubt that for a second after Wednesday, John!
On the administration’s handling of children at the southern border, he was critical, though he blamed then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for catching the White House by surprise with the adoption of a “zero tolerance” policy.
Illegal immigration is now at record levels with smugglers setting up "recycling rings" where "illegals reuse children over and over to jump the border."

Sessions tried to create a deterrent to this type of criminal behavior and Trump caved due to the media (and his daughter) whining about it.
Contrary to Trump’s comments that many immigrants coming to the U.S. border are criminals, Kelly added: “And by the way, they’re overwhelmingly not criminals. They’re people coming up here for economic purposes. I don’t blame them for that.”

He didn’t defend Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to get funding for a border wall and said: “We don’t need a wall from sea to shining sea.”

Kelly also expressed disagreement with deploying U.S. troops, even National Guard troops, to the border, as Trump did last fall before the midterm elections.

“Generally speaking I would always look for another way to do it,” Kelly said.

Asked about Trump’s executive order establishing a travel ban just days after taking office — while Kelly was Homeland Security secretary — he said it was a mistake made by inexperienced White House staff who didn’t run the policy through the usual process-gathering process for input from relevant government agencies.

[...]Kelly also defended the cost of maintaining the NATO alliance, the merits of which Trump has repeatedly questioned. And he took credit for initially organizing a series of briefings that convinced Trump not to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Syria.
We're spending around $750 billion on our military every year but we can't afford $25 billion (or even $5 billion) to secure our own border.
When he decided it was time to leave, saying the job exhausted him, he joked that the advice he gave to his successor, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, was: “Run for it.”
Sounds like Trump picked a real winner!

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