John Kelly once had to tell Donald Trump that wounded war veterans “are the heroes,” after Trump said he didn’t want to include them in a military parade.
According to an excerpt from an upcoming book by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, Kelly was shocked by Trump’s request.
“I don’t want them. It doesn’t look good for me,” Trump said of including wounded veterans in the parade.
A shocked John Kelly — one of Donald Trump’s former White House chiefs of staff — once had to tell Trump that wounded veterans “are the heroes” after the former president said he didn’t want them featured in a military parade because he feared they’d make him look bad.
According to an excerpt from an upcoming book by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, “The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021,” Trump — after attending the 2017 Bastille Day parade in Paris — told Kelly that he did not want any injured veterans at a 2018 military parade.
“Look, I don’t want any wounded guys in the parade,” Trump said, according to the book. “This doesn’t look good for me.”
He noted that at the Bastille Day parade, there were several wounded veterans, many of whom were in wheelchairs after losing limbs in battle.
According to the book excerpt, Kelly — a retired Marine Corps General — could not believe what Trump had asked.
“Those are the heroes,” he told Trump, the book reads. “In our society, there’s only one group of people who are more heroic than they are — and they are buried over in Arlington.”
Kelly’s son, Robert was a lieutenant killed in action in Afghanistan and is among the veterans buried at Arlington, according to the book.
“I don’t want them. It doesn’t look good for me,” Trump said again.
According to a 2020 report from the Atlantic, Trump also said “nobody wants to see that,” in reference to the wounded veterans.
Plenty of Trump’s former team, including Kelly, have been critical of the former president since they left the administration and he has left the White House — particularly Trump’s actions around the January 6, 2021 riots at the Capitol.
Kelly, for example, told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl last year that if Trump were “a real man,” he would’ve gone down to the Capitol on January 6 and told his supporters to stop the violent attack.
Glasser and Baker’s forthcoming book offers a detailed look at the ways Trump clashed with the former generals that served as top advisors to him early in the former president’s tenure.
In once instance covered in the book, Trump asked Kelly why US generals weren’t as loyal to him as the senior officers who served Adolf Hitler during WWII.
“You fucking generals, why can’t you be like the German generals?” Trump said to Kelly, per an excerpt of the book published in the New Yorker.
Kelly said to Trump, “You do know that they tried to kill Hitler three times and almost pulled it off?” But Trump was insistent that the generals were “totally loyal” to Hitler, according to the book.
In an interview with NBC on Tuesday, Kelly confirmed that the book’s depiction of this interaction was accurate. Kelly spoke on Trump’s “unwillingness to accept that the American generals should not be loyal to him as the German generals were to the leader of Germany. And, again, I very definitely pointed out that they tried to kill him [Hitler] a number of times.”
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