Dem Rep Doubles Down on Calling John Kelly an 'Extremist,' Citing His Immigration Policies

July 30, 2017

Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee (D., Calif.) on Sunday defended a tweet she sent out calling newly minted White House chief of staff John Kelly an "extremist," citing the Trump administration's immigration policies.

"Congresswoman, you said something about General Kelly that was a bit controversial. I want to for everybody to discuss it and for you to defend it," host Jake Tapper asked Lee on CNN's "State of the Union."

Tapper then read the tweet from Friday.

"First of all, there are those who say people who served in the military should be able to integrate back into society. Second of all, why is he—perhaps most importantly, why do you think he's an extremist?" Tapper asked.

Lee discussed her experience coming from a military family and said she recognizes the sacrifices that "all of our military men and women make, as well as General Kelly and his history and his sacrifices."

Kelly is a retired four-star Marine general whose son, Marine Lt. Robert Michael Kelly, was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2010. President Donald Trump tapped Kelly to serve as his secretary of homeland security until Friday, when Trump named Kelly as his new White House chief of staff.

Lee argued that Kelly pursued "extreme policies" during his time at the Department of Homeland Security

"What I'm talking about is his tenure as homeland security secretary and the very extreme policies of promoting family dislocation, deportation of innocent men and women and children, breaking up families, promoting a Muslim ban, promoting a wall between the United States and Mexico," Lee said.

"Those are extreme policies. And so this is very troublesome to me, to have this kind of power now centralized in the White House because these are very serious matters and extreme policies," Lee said.