Former Chief of Staff John Kelly Confirms Stories About Trump’s Hatred of Veterans and POWs: ‘What Did They Get Out of This?’

John Kelly delivered a sharp rebuke to his former boss, former President Donald Trump, and corroborated several damning accounts alleging a jarring indifference toward service members.

The former White House chief of staff confirmed to CNN a 2020 Atlantic story that claimed Trump was baffled by service members who died in the war, during a 2017 Memorial Day stop at Arlington National Cemetery .

“I don’t understand. What did they gain from this? Trump allegedly told Kelly at the time.

In another incident from 2017, Trump allegedly insisted that no wounded veterans be the focus of a large military parade he was trying to plan.

“Those are the heroes,” Kelly responded, according to his book, “The Divider: Trump in the White House.”

“In our society, there is only one group of people who are more heroic than them, and they are buried in Arlington.”

President Donald Trump places flowers at the grave of Kelly’s son Robert at Arlington National Cemetery on May 29, 2017. Getty Images

“I don’t want them,” Trump allegedly responded. “It doesn’t seem good to me.”

That episode mirrored a similar account in The Atlantic’s recent profile recounting Trump’s anger at having an injured Army captain sing for the president.

Kelly also confirmed a 2018 anecdote alleging Trump was bitter about visiting soldiers’ graves at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France.

“Why should I go to that cemetery? “It’s full of losers,” Trump allegedly said.

Crosses mark the graves of American soldiers at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, near Chateau-Thierry, France. Getty Images Previous reports have shown that Trump shows little respect toward wounded US military veterans. Alec Tabak

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Kelly, a retired Marine general who lost his then-29-year-old son to a land mine in Afghanistan in 2010, admonished Trump’s behavior.

“What can I add that hasn’t already been said?” Kelly told CNN. “A person who admires murderous autocrats and dictators. “A person who has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution and the rule of law.”

Kelly was Trump’s longest-serving chief of staff, a role he publicly described as “the hardest job I’ve ever had.”

Kelly was Trump’s longest-serving chief of staff.Getty Images

A rambunctious and troubled child, Trump’s parents sent him to the New York Military Academy in the 1960s to instill in him some military discipline, according to some of his biographers.

Trump subsequently evaded the draft for the Vietnam War on at least five occasions, including due to suspected bone spurs in his feet. Kelly served in the Marine Corps during that time.

Decades later, Trump jokingly compared his personal Vietnam to avoiding sexually transmitted diseases during his escapades with various women. He also stressed that he did not agree with the conflict.

“Well, I was never a fan of that war, I’ll be honest with you. I thought it was a terrible war. I thought it was too far away. “No one ever, you know you’re talking about Vietnam, and at that time, no one had ever heard of that country,” Trump previously said on “Good Morning Britain.”

Former Senator John McCain in November 1967 while detained in Vietnam.Getty Images

In addition to Kelly confirming some of the surprising anecdotes against his former boss, Trump has had some public clashes with military families.

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For example, in 2015, Trump criticized the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), questioning the Republican statesman’s status as a war hero.

“I like people who didn’t get caught,” Trump said at the time.

Trump recently accused retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley of treason, which he noted was usually punishable by death.

President Donald Trump and General Mark Milley.REUTERS

Kelly further criticized Trump for being a liar to the public.

“A person who is not sincere about his position on the protection of unborn life, on women, on minorities, on evangelical Christians, on Jews, on working men and women,” Kelly said in a statement.

Trump has publicly insisted that veterans and military service members “love me.”

Throughout his presidency, he boasted of trying to raise military salaries, fighting to ensure soldiers got the weapons they needed, and working to end wars.

The Post has contacted the Trump campaign for comment.

Trump is the favorite to be the Republican standard-bearer in 2024, according to a recent poll.

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