John Kelly

Screengrab via C-SPAN

John Kelly says immigrants don’t have ‘skills’ in interview

His remarks were not met kindly online.


Andrew Wyrich


Posted on May 11, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 4:08 pm CDT

Chief of Staff John Kelly said President Donald Trump is “somewhat embarrassed” by the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and said undocumented immigrants “don’t have skills” and “don’t integrate well” in a newly released interview.

The chief of staff made the comments when speaking with NPR’s Morning Edition.

When asked specifically if the Russia probe was a “cloud” hanging over the Trump administration, Kelly said the investigation comes up in meetings with world leaders.

“It may not be a cloud but certainly the president is, you know, somewhat embarrassed, frankly,” Kelly told the news outlet.

Trump has repeated called the investigation, headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a “witch hunt.” The probe has resulted in indictments of several former Trump administration officials—including two for lying to investigators—and several Russian actors and entities that sowed discord online among American voters ahead of the election.

Kelly’s response about Trump’s feelings regarding the investigation was quickly mocked online.

The news outlet also spoke with the chief of staff about the administration’s stance on immigration. Kelly first said that “most” undocumented immigrants “are not bad people,” but followed it up by saying “they don’t integrate well; they don’t have skills.”

“They’re not criminals. They’re not MS-13,” he said. “But they’re also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society. They’re overwhelmingly rural people. In the countries they come from, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are kind of the norm.”

Those comments also drew the ire of people online.

You can read more about the chief of staff’s interview with NPR here.


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*First Published: May 11, 2018, 8:07 am CDT