John Kelly tried to gaslight Elizabeth Warren, called her an ‘arrogant woman’ when she persisted

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 31: Newly sworn-in White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is seen prior to a Medal of Honor ceremony at the East Room of the White House July 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. McCloughan is awarded with the medal for his heroic acts as a combat medic during the Vietnam War. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
John Kelly

It took Sen. Elizabeth Warren a week in early 2017 to get then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on the phone to answer questions about the Muslim ban and how his agency was responding to court orders. When she finally did get to speak to him to ask what was happening to her constituents who were overseas and not being allowed to come home, he denied that she had been trying to reach him. It’s not hard to imagine Warren refusing to lie down and take that kind of gaslighting. But it’s Kelly whose disgusting response Buzzfeed News got from the Department of Homeland Security through a Freedom of Information Act request:

“Absolutely most insulting conversation I have ever had with anyone,” Kelly, then serving as the secretary of homeland security, wrote to Kevin Carroll, who was then his senior counselor at the Department of Homeland Security, in an email from Feb. 8, 2017. “What an impolite arrogant woman. She immediately began insulting our people accusing them of not following the court order, insulting and abusive behavior towards those covered by the pause, blah blah blah.”

Yes, how dare that, that … woman speak to John Kelly as if, just because she was a duly elected senator advocating for her constituents, whose calls he had been ducking for a week, she could insist that court orders have the force of law and that—horror of horrors—Kelly should respond to questions from this nation’s elected leaders.

Warren is telling her side of the story in response to Kelly’s email coming out, and wow. Kelly not only insisted Warren hadn’t been trying to get in touch with him even when she read him her staff’s emails trying to set up a call, but when she asked for a phone number to get in touch with him, “He brushed me off, directing me to the main line listed on the Department of Homeland Security’s website (really).” But it’s not just Kelly’s insults to Warren that she focuses on. 

“Blah blah blah.” That’s all he had to say when he was called out for breaking the law and destroying lives. And I don’t know about John Kelly – but there are some men who can only hear “blah blah blah” whenever a woman’s talking. One of his aides wrote back, “Too bad Senate Majority Leader McConnell couldn’t order her to be quiet again!”

Clever. Well, Mitch McConnell can’t shut me up – and neither can John Kelly. (He can’t even get Donald Trump off Twitter, and as far as I can tell, that was his main job description when he took on the role of White House Chief of Staff).

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