John Kelly Breaks Hard with Trump on Border Crisis and National Emergency

Evan Vucci  AP  Shutterstock View View 10

Evan Vucci AP Shutterstock View View 10

"Politics aside, it's all about governing the country", he added. Shortly before he left the White House in December 2018, Kelly told The Los Angeles Times that the wall won't actually be a "wall".

Kelly had not spoken freely of his time in the Trump administration since leaving in January.

Although Kelly parted severely with Trump on key issues, he insisted this was "the most important job I've ever had" - even if it was "the least enjoyable job I've ever had", as The Duke Chronicle reported.

Kelly did not deny reports that Trump skirted the usual process to grant security clearances or that Kelly later wrote a memo detailing his concerns about it. "And two, conversations with the President at that level certainly would be covered by privilege". He also laid some of the blame on Attorney General Jeff Sessions for allowing the White House to be caught off-guard by the "zero tolerance policy".

Kelly reportedly also broke with President Trump's characterization of immigrants from Mexico and Central America.

"The president still says "wall" - oftentimes frankly he'll say "barrier" or 'fencing, ' now he's tended toward steel slats", Kelly said.

"They're overwhelmingly not criminals - they're people coming up here for economic" purposes, he said.

"If I told them "I can get you 2,000 miles [of wall],' they'd say 'that seems like an very bad waste of money" because they don't need it everywhere is the point".

Kelly, who also served as Mr. Trump's Homeland Security secretary, said it's his view that "we don't need a wall from, you know, sea to shining sea".

"Generally speaking I would always look for another way to do it", the network quoted Kelly as saying in response to a question at Duke.

The White House staff "got a little bit maybe out in front of their skis", he said.

But a March 2017 interview with CNN revealed that Kelly himself suggested separating families to deter unauthorized immigration.

Asked about the one piece of advice he had for his successor, Mick Mulvaney, Kelly joked, "Run for it".

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