Democratic Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.) suggested Monday that he regrets his recent attacks against White House chief of staff John Kelly, saying he “could have been more careful” with his words.
CNN host Alisyn Camerota asked Gutiérrez whether he “regrets” calling Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, a “hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear.”
Gutiérrez, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, lashed out at Kelly shortly after the Trump administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program earlier this month.
“He has no honor and should be drummed out of the White House along with the white supremacists and those enabling the president’s actions by ‘just following orders,’” Gutiérrez said of Kelly.
The Illinois Democrat’s comments received widespread backlash from both sides of the political aisle.
On Monday, Gutiérrez expressed regret for his attacks but criticized Kelly for his immigration policies at the Department of Homeland Security.
“Let me just say this, I could have been more careful with the use of my words, and there are times that you need to reevaluate,” Gutiérrez said. “Having said that, I saw him as head of Homeland Security deport grandmothers who had been for 15 years reporting dutifully to Homeland Security with their American citizen grandchildren. Heartless actions, and increasing deportations against people who presented no threat.”
Gutiérrez said Kelly told him while he was running DHS, “I’m the one that is stopping the Dreamers from getting deported. I care about them; I’m defending them, I’m protecting them,” before adding, “And it was a pretty heartless thing to do.”
“So yes, you can always be more careful, and I will probably be talking more about that in the future,” he added.