White House chief of staff John Kelly has responded to criticism of his role in the White House from a Democratic member of Congress.
In a statement, Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois described Kelly, a retired general, as a "disgrace to the uniform" for siding with President Donald Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
"General Kelly, when he was the head of Homeland Security, lied straight to the faces of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about preventing the mass deportation of DREAMers," Gutierrez added in the statement, posted on his official page. "Now as Chief of Staff, this former general is executing the plan to take away their lifeline and taking steps to criminalize young people who live and work here legally."
Gutierrez went on to say Kelly "has no honor and should be out of the White House along with the white supremacists and those enabling the President's actions by 'just following orders.'"
Kelly reacted in an email sent to Fox News on Sept. 10.
"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," wrote Kelly. "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 acknowledged in conclusion, "The congressman has a right to his opinion."
He insisted Trump was right to rescind DACA, saying former President Barack Obama had overstepped his authority by implementing the program.
"Every DOJ and DHS lawyer says DACA is unconstitutional," added Kelly. "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."
Trump's decision is not just opposed by Democrats in Congress. California announced Sept. 11 it is suing the Trump administration over its ending of DACA. Attorneys general from Maine, Maryland and Minnesota are also joining the lawsuit.
The suit will argue that Trump's decision is a violation of the Fifth Amendment due to concerns that the government will use information provided by DACA recipients to deport them.
"The reckless choice to rescind DACA violated the Constitution as well as federal laws that help ensure our government treats everyone fairly and transparently," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Sept. 11, according to HuffPost.
Sources: U.S. Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez, Fox News, HuffPost / Featured Image: U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: U.S. House of Representatives/Wikimedia Commons, U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Wikimedia Commons