Mike Pence’s former chief of staff responded Tuesday to his turncoat colleague’s criticism of their onetime shared boss—which culminated in retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg’s endorsement of former President Donald Trump Monday.
Appearing on CNN, Marc Short read aloud emails he claimed were from Kellogg, Pence’s former national security adviser, on the night of Jan. 6. In the communications, Kellogg was supportive of Pence’s position: that he had solely ceremonial duties in overseeing the certification of presidential electors.
“[Kellogg] said, ‘The president is up in the residence. I recommend you stay on the Hill and finish the Electoral College issue tonight,’” Short told The Situation Room anchor Wolf Blitzer. “I responded, ‘That’s our plan.’ And he said, ‘That’s not a good plan. That’s a great plan. Close this thing out tonight.’”
CNN anchor Jim Sciutto later tweeted a photograph of the printed-out email.
“So on Jan. 6, Keith was clearly supporting the vice president’s actions,” Short explained. “I know that he’s still on Donald Trump’s payroll and perhaps that’s why he’s saying something different today.”
In his endorsement Monday, Kellogg praised Trump for “stand[ing] apart as a figure of unwavering determination, a deep vision for America, and the courage to take a stand where others wilt.” He also expressed his “disappointment in [Pence’s] recent actions regarding President Trump”--perhaps a dig at Pence’s Jan. 6-related comments after Trump’s indictment last week—and accused the former vice president of “avoiding confrontation.”
He then called out Short specifically.
“This lack of assertiveness, combined with an overreliance on failed political consultants like Marc Short, has demonstrated a laisse-faire [sic] leadership style unworthy of the Presidency.”
Also in the interview, Short claimed that although Kellogg was behind Pence in private, that was not the case in public.
“There were a lot of young men and women on our staff who stood at their posts on Jan. 6. Unfortunately, Keith was not one of them,” Short said.
“Keith was at the rally at the time that the United States Secret Service evacuated the vice president. The vice president’s national security adviser was down at the rally encouraging people to march on the Capitol,” he claimed. “So, he did not stand his post.”
Kellogg, for his part, denied the accusations in a tweet following Short’s interview.
“Saying I was ‘encouraging people to march on the Capitol’ is blatantly false and slanderous. I was standing my post. NSA was out of town, and DNSA was off that morning. It was policy to have a senior national security figure with POTUS at all times. That was me.”