John Kelly fires back at Luis Gutierrez

I wrote here about how Rep. Luis Gutierrez called John Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff, a “hypocrite” and a “disgrace to the uniform he used to wear.” Kelly served in the military for more than 40 years.

Gutierrez never served a day. However, he became hysterical over Trump’s decision to phase out the DACA program, while giving Congress the opportunity to implement its protections. Gutierrez claimed that Trump’s action violated a promise Kelly had made. As I demonstrated here, though, there is no inconsistency between what Gutierrez says Kelly promised — no mass deportations of “dreamers” — and the winding down of a program that granted them secure status plus benefits.

Kelly has now responded to Gutierrez. He said:

As far as the congressman and other irresponsible members of congress are concerned, they have the luxury of saying what they want as they do nothing and have almost no responsibility. They can call people liars but it would be inappropriate for me to say the same thing back at them. As my blessed mother used to say “empty barrels make the most noise.”

Kelly also defended the decision to phase out DACA, while giving Congress time to pass legislation that accomplishes the same things:

Every DOJ and DHS lawyer says DACA is unconstitutional. Every other legal scholar – right and left – says the same thing. Trump didn’t end DACA, the law did. That said, I worked and succeeded to give the congress another six months to do something. I am not confident.

It’s not really true that every legal scholar says DACA is unconstitutional. One can find left-wing academics who defend its constitutionality.

It’s telling though that a former left-wing academic initially conceded that DACA-style amnesty would be an illegal usurpation of power by the executive. The professor’s name was Barack Obama.

Rep. Gutierrez’s office responded lamely to Kelly. It noted that “the constitutionality of DACA has never been challenged successfully in court.” But the constitutionality of DAPA has successfully been challenged, and the arguments against DACA are very similar.

In any event, the president of the United States takes an oath to uphold the Constitution. He has thus sworn not to maintain programs that, in his view, are unconstitutional. He need not, and should not, wait for courts to opine.

If the president were considering a program to take some as yet unheard of draconian measure to punish illegal immigrants, it would not do for him to blow off constitutional concerns on the grounds that the constitutionality of the punishment has never been challenged successfully in court. It will not do for Gutierrez, apparently illiterate when it comes to the Constitution, to blow off constitutional concerns over DACA.

Gutierrez owes Kelly an apology. But Kelly probably doesn’t take the open-borders loudmouth seriously enough to want one.