John Kelly: I feel 'disbelief' at Trump's praise of Putin as a 'genius'
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (Screen capture)

On CNN Thursday, John Kelly, the retired Marine General who served as former President Donald Trump's Secretary of Homeland Security and White House chief of staff, reacted with shock to his former boss' lavish praise for Vladimir Putin for his violent invasion of Ukraine.

"We've heard a lot of prominent Republicans, both in politics and in conservative media, praising Vladimir Putin, even calling him a 'genius,'" said anchor Jake Tapper. "What's your response when you hear that?"

"Disbelief," said Kelly. "He's a tyrant. He's a murderer. He has attacked an innocent country whose only crime is that they want to be free and democratic and they're working in that direction and have been working in that direction. They have been a cooperative country. They gave up, on our word, the nuclear weapons that the old Soviet Union left behind. They participated with other U.S./NATO allies. They participated in operations — peacekeeping operations in Africa and Afghanistan, places like that. They were part of the partnership for peace, although not members of NATO, they worked alongside NATO in these various good operations.

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"You know, is Putin smart?" he added. "Yes. Tyrants are smart. They know what they're doing. But that's — I can't imagine why someone would look at what's happening there and see it anything other than a criminal act. I don't get it, Jake."

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John Kelly says he feels "disbelief" at Trump's comments calling Putin a "genius"