Retired Marine Gen. John Kelly has a message to Congress: Fix yourself.
Now serving as White House chief of staff, Kelly was personally attacked by an Illinois congressman following President Trump’s Sept. 5 announcement that protections for children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents would end in six months.
“General Kelly is a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear,” Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill., said last week. Gutiérrez also claimed that Kelly lied when he testified before Congress as head of the Homeland Security Department that he would prevent mass deportation of the children, known as Dreamers.
But in a double-knife-handed response emailed to Fox News, Kelly countered that Gutiérrez and “other irresponsible members of Congress” have failed to address issues about whether the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was constitutional.
“Every [Justice Department] and [Homeland Security Department] lawyer says DACA is unconstitutional,” Fox News quoted Kelly as saying. “Every other legal scholar ― right and left ― says the same thing. Trump didn’t end DACA, the law did. That said, I worked and succeeded to give the congress another six months to do something. I am not confident.”
While Gutiérrez has a right to his opinion, lawmakers have been all talk and no action on DACA, Kelly told Fox News on Monday. As head of the Homeland Security Department, Kelly pleaded with hundreds of lawmakers to fix the program, but they did nothing, he said.
“They can call people liars but it would be inappropriate for me to say the same thing back at them,” Kelly told Fox News. “As my blessed mother used to say ‘empty barrels make the most noise.’”
A White House spokeswoman confirmed that Fox News accurately reported Kelly’s comments.
Gutiérrez’s spokesman Douglas Rivlin could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday. Rivlin told Marine Corps Times last week that Gutiérrez is angry at both Trump and Kelly for ending the protections for children of illegal immigrants.
“When Kelly went to work for the president, he became a politician just like his boss who has done nothing but attack Latinos since he first descended the golden staircase at Trump Tower to call Mexicans murderers and rapists in 2015,” Rivlin said on Sept. 7.