MSNBC co-hosts Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle on Monday took on former Bush Chief of Staff Andy Card for defending President Donald Trump’s chief of staff after he failed to fire an employee who had been accused of abusing his wives.
Ruhle noted on Monday’s Velshi & Ruhle program that the president’s spokespeople have falsely claimed that Trump has spoken in defense of domestic violence victims.
In fact, Velshi reminded viewers, Trump has repeatedly spoken in support of men who have been accused of domestic violence and sexual harassment, including Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and former White House staffer Rob Porter.
“The president isn’t really in a position to change his view,” the MSNBC host explained. “Because if he changes his view about the others, he may have to answer things for himself.”
Turning to Card, Velshi noted that many people hoped that Chief of Staff John Kelly would have moderated Trump’s worst instincts on defending alleged abusers.
“Time after time after time, we’ve seen John Kelly on the wrong side of things,” Velshi said. “I cannot ever forget what he said about Florida Congresswoman Fredrica Wilson. He came out to the White House briefing and lied to reporters about something she did. The video came out exonerating her and proved he was lying.”
“I’m beginning to think we’ve got a very serious John Kelly problem in this country,” he told Card.
Card, however, said that he supports Kelly regardless of his missteps.
“I think he’s doing a remarkable job,” Card insisted. “I have great empathy for him.”
“People who are experts at this like you don’t share your view on this,” Velshi interrupted.
Ruhle wondered why Kelly’s lies and failure to fire Porter was “A-okay” with Card.
Card contended that Kelly’s responsibility was to the president, not the American people.
“That is an awesome responsibility and he should not be distracted by some of these other things that are being said about him,” Card opined.
“I’m not asking John Kelly to defend the president or his campaign paying off an adult film star,” Ruhle shot back. “I’m asking [about] Kelly’s own words and actions. We’re not creating these distractions, these are his actions.”
“I don’t want the White House to be distracted,” Card remarked. “And a lot of these things are distractions.”
“The media isn’t creating these distractions!” Ruhle exclaimed.
“But you’re talking about them over and over and over,” Card complained.
“We have an obligation to, Andy,” Velshi chimed in.
“Are you saying that we should ignore the fact that they’ve got Rob Porter in the White House — people beyond Rob Porter — who don’t have security clearances?” Ruhle asked. “We should let that go?”
“We didn’t know about this problem until it came out,” Velshi added. “We didn’t know Rob Porter had these allegations.”
“That’s the way it is,” Card stated. “That’s part of the job of chief of staff to focus on that and make sure the president gets well served by the people around him. And to make sure the people don’t damage the reputation of the institution.”
“You don’t think the stuff that John Kelly was doing is damaging the White House, the institution of the White House?” Velshi pressed. “What about those Fredrica Wilson comments? He’s not actually come out and apologized for that. He lied about a U.S. congresswoman! It was proved on tape that he lied!”
“In the end,” Velshi continued, “he may be hurting more than he’s helping.”
“That’s not for you and I to decide,” Card replied. “That’s between John Kelly and the president.”
Watch the video below from MSNBC.