US PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s new chief of staff has hit out at Barack Obama’s military policy, claiming his “social changes” to the way to the troops operate were “not very wise”.
General John Kelly, a former US marine, joined the ranks of the Trump White House after replacing the president’s last top advisor Reince Priebus.
His ascension to the top job in the west wing comes amid increasing turmoil within the administration, following the sacking of two of the president’s spokesmen – press secretary Sean Spicer and communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who lasted just 10 days on the job.
Now the military mind is one of four senior veterans to serve under President Trump, including HR McMaster who served as Kelly’s commanding officer.
And in his first interview since taking the job, the President’s right-hand man has hit out at the military approach of Barack Obama, taking aim at his social policy.
Obama’s changes to the armed forces included the repeal of “Don’t ask don’t tell”, which banned lesbian, gay and bisexual service members from disclosing their sexuality.
General Kelly said: “That’s the only filter we should ever look through.
“Whether it’s buying a new jet fighter, a new tool or any of the social changes.
“The only thing we should do is ask, ‘does it make us more lethal on the battlefield?’”
Speaking to Fox News, he went on to claim “many of the changes” to the military brought in by President Obama “particularly the social changes, are not very wise”.
General Kelly was sworn into office four days after Donald Trump announced he would not allow transgender troops to serve in the military.
It comes as the president surrounds himself with tough speaking military leaders, including National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Defence Secretary James Mattis.
They are joined by Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford, who continued on in his position after the Obama administration.
Trump has also given lower grade military servicemen positions on his staff – Sean Spicer is a commander in the United States Navy Reserve while chief advisor Steve Bannon served as a naval officer on the destroyer class USS Paul F. Foster.
The number of military commanders in the Trump administration is the highest since the 1950s presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, who served as a general himself.
General Kelly, who served directly under James ‘mad dog’ Mattis in Kuwait after 9/11, hailed the men’s ability to stand up to President Trump.
He said: “Jim Mattis defines ‘speaking truth to power’ in my view, and I like to think I do as well.
“I observed him do it routinely – every day – as we planned the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath.”
General Kelly added: “Remember, telling the unvarnished truth to power doesn’t mean you always get your way.
“The principal ultimately decides and it is our way that so long as that decision is legal, moral, and ethical, one salutes and executes. Sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t.”