President Trump once prided himself in the fact that he had stocked his administration with capable military men like ex-Defense Secretary James Mattis and now-former Chief of Staff John Kelly. But as both men have departed his administration - with Mattis explicitly citing Trump's decision to pull US troops out of Afghanistan and Syria, and Kelly criticizing these decisions in an exit interview - Trump Monday morning lashed out at "failed generals" who "complain" about Trump's decision to fulfill his campaign promise to finish the "never-ending" wars in the US.
...I campaigned on getting out of Syria and other places. Now when I start getting out the Fake News Media, or some failed Generals who were unable to do the job before I arrived, like to complain about me & my tactics, which are working. Just doing what I said I was going to do!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2018
Trump also reminded Americans that he campaigned on ending wars like Afghanistan, which has dragged on for 17 years, while circumstances in the country have only seemed to deteriorate further.
.....Except the results are FAR BETTER than I ever said they were going to be! I campaigned against the NEVER ENDING WARS, remember!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2018
Taking another shot at Kelly, who left the administration during an acrimonious battle over President Trump's promised border wall, Trump responded to Kelly's exit-interview claim that the 'border wall' isn't actually a wall (he said 'barrier' or 'fence' would probably be more appropriate).
"To be honest, it’s not a wall," said Kelly - who embarked in early 2017 on seeking advice from those who "actually secure the border," on what to do. Speaking with Customs and Border Protection agents - referred to by Kelly as "salt-of-the-earth, Joe-Six-Pack folks," the outgoing Chief of Staff recounts "They said, 'Well we need a physical barrier in certain places, we need technology across the board, and we need more people'."
"The president still says ‘wall’ — oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats. But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it."
President Trump was unsurprisingly less than pleased to hear Kelly once again publicly question the president's dedication to building a wall, and in a Monday morning tweet, Trump contradicted Kelly's assertion that plans for a concrete border wall had been abandoned during the early days of the administration after consulting with CBP agents. Instead, Trump insisted that "some sections" of the wall would be made of concrete, while other portions would be "see through" in accordance with the wishes of border patrol experts.
"An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media. Some areas will be all concrete but the experts at Border Patrol prefer a Wall that is see through (thereby making it possible to see what is happening on both sides). Makes sense to me!"
An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media. Some areas will be all concrete but the experts at Border Patrol prefer a Wall that is see through (thereby making it possible to see what is happening on both sides). Makes sense to me!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2018
The tweet didn't mention Kelly by name, but Trump's dissatisfaction with his former chief of staff's decision to break with the party line was obvious to all. Though whether Trump will succeed in securing funding to start construction remains to be seen, as the partial government shutdown provoked by his funding battle with Democrats enters its tenth day, halfway to tying the longest shutdown ever.