Trump’s generals must stay in Cabinet to ‘right the ship’: Obama official

Posted on: August 20th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The secretary of Homeland Security for President Obama said that despite recent talk of “whether people should resign from the White House,” the military leaders now serving in top positions for President Donald Trump need to stay to “right the ship.”

ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz asked former Secretary Jeh Johnson on “This Week” Sunday about recent turmoil in the White House, including with the departure of Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon and the resignation of many people from presidential advisory councils.

“What do you think it says [that Trump] has surrounded himself with generals — and they remain?” Raddatz asked.

“Well, that’s interesting,” Johnson said. “There’s been a lot of talk this week about people resigning from the White House, whether people should resign from the White House.”

“Frankly, if John Kelly, or my friend Jim Mattis, came to me and said, ‘I’m thinking about resigning from this White House,’ I’d say, ‘Absolutely not. You have to stay,’ ” Johnson said. “We need people like John Kelly, Jim Mattis, H.R. McMaster to right the ship.”

The former Homeland Security chief was referring to retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, who is Trump’s new chief of staff; retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, defense secretary; and Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, national security adviser.

Johnson also weighed in on Trump’s recent comments suggesting that removing public monuments of Confederate figures such as Robert E. Lee could lead to taking down statues of the nation’s founders who owned slaves, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

“I think most Americans understand, most African-Americans understand, that many of the founders of our nation were slave owners.” Johnson said. “But most of us are not advocating that we take them off the currency or drop Washington’s name from the nation’s capital.”

The problem, he said, is that “Confederate monuments are now, modern-day, becoming symbols and rallying points for white nationalism, for neo-Nazis, for the KKK. And this is most alarming.”

Johnson noted that he has family roots near Charlottesville, Virginia, where violence broke out on Aug. 12 after a gathering of white nationalists. “My great-grandfather was born a slave in 1860 in Lynchburg,” he said. “He was freed by Abraham Lincoln when he was a child.”

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