John Kelly

Secretary of Homeland Security (1/20/17 - 7/31/17)

White House Chief of Staff (from 7/31/17)

  • Fall 2015 Limits foreign delegation access to observe conditions at Guantanamo Bay detention center. (source)
  • 12/29/15 Thwarts President Obama’s efforts to transfer prisoners and close Guantanamo Bay detention center. (source)
    • Criticizes the president for not shutting down the prison sooner. (source) Then requests $200 million to renovate Guantanamo prison facilities. (source)
  • 1/8/16 Opposes President Obama on opening all combat positions to women. (source)
  • 1/11/16 Opposed the withdrawal from Iraq: “Some of the recommendations might be distasteful or out-of-the-box in terms of some of the policy-makers’ thinking,” he said. “We know how to do it, but it generally translates to more expensive and longer-term than what maybe the nation hopes for.” (source)
  • May 2014 Orchestrates the swap of five Taliban soldiers for Bowe Bergdahl without Congressional approval and in front of unaware reporters. “All of us were down there – we were doing the transfer and we never got caught.” (source)
  • 1/11/16 Speaking of his sentiments after retiring: “My fear was of being offered a job that would be kind of a full-time position at a veterans organization or even in the government … I’d prefer to not be that, to come up the Beltway every day.” (source)


As Secretary of Homeland Security

  • April 2017 Appoints to the head of faith-based and neighborhood partnerships at DHS, Rev. Jamie Johnson, who has said that the black community is responsible for turning cities into "slums" and argued that Islam's only contribution to society was "oil and dead bodies." (CNN)
  • Priebus27/28/17 Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff (1/20/17 - 7/28/17) is fired by Trump via Twitter and Kelly is appointed to WH Chief of Staff the same day. (NYT)



As White House Chief of Staff

  • 7/31/17 On Kelly's first day as Chief of Staff, Anthony Scaramucci, White House Communications Director for ten days, is fired. (NYT)
  • Bannon2 8/18/17 Ousts Trump's chief strategic advisor Steve Bannon, who claims that he was going to resign in early August but for the neo-Nazi unrest in Charlottesville, which occurred in mid-August. (Hill)
  • 8/24/17 Begins to limit access to Trump by advisors and staff. (NYT)
  • 8/25/17 Revokes the security clearance of Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the President. The Hungarian-British hard-liner with ties to Brietbart and far-right groups in Europe is subsequently let go after seven months of defending Trump and making controversial statements on behalf of the White House. (NYT)
  • 9/1/17 Ramps up Trump's travel schedule in order to sell the White House agenda. (CNN)
  • 9/1/17 Scales back Trump's access to his cell phone. (NYT)
  • 9/2/17 Is being credited for pushing Omarosa Manigault out of contact with Trump after observing a persistent by Manigault to rile up Trump with news articles and observations from cable talks shows and news programs. (DailyBeast)
  • 9/5/17 Prevents controversial sheriff David Clarke from getting a job in the White House or at the Department of Homeland Security. (DailyBeast)
  • 10/31/17 Says in an interview that Robert E. Lee was "an honoroable man" who was rightfully more loyal to his state than to the federal government, and that "the lack of an ability to compromise" led to the Civil War. The comments echo Jim Crow Era Confederate sympathizer talking points from the turn of the 19th century, according to historians. (WaPo)
    • 10/31/17 The White House press secretary Sarah Hucakabee Sanders condemns the blowback from Kelly's Confederate sympathy as "absurd and disgraceful." (Politico)
  • 11/9/17 Pressures acting secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke to refuse to extend the residency permits of tens of thousands of Hondurans and to expel them. (WaPo)
  • 1/22/18 Is reported that despite Trump wanting to warm to a deal with Democrats on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, he allowed Kelly and policy advisor Stephen Miller to steer him away to a tougher stance on immigration. (NYT)
  • 2/8/18 Is reported that Kelly has not found a deputy for over four months, reflecting a larger problem of the White House not being able to find staff willing to work for it. (Politico)
  • 2/8/18 Is discovered that Kelly and White House Counsel Donald McGahn knew for many months that two ex-wives of top White House aide Rob Porter were going to go public about spousal abuse. (WaPo)
    • 2/9/18 Is reported that Kelly instructed his staff to provide the press with the story that he fired Porter within 40 minutes of learning about abuse allegations from two ex-wives. (WaPo)
    • 2/9/18 Tells officials that he is willing to resign over his handling of the Porter allegations. (NYT)
  • 4/7/18 Is reported that Chief of Staff John Kelly's morale is at an all-time low and that his credibility and influence in the White House has been greatly diminished his eight months in the White House. (WaPo)