Ringling College Library Association Town Hall: General John F. Kelly

It was an honor listening to and meeting General John F. Kelly, former White House Chief of Staff and Secretary of Homeland Security, during the first lecture of the 2020 Ringling College Library Association’s Town Hall Lecture Series on Monday, Jan. 27. I’ve been involved with the association for several years and this is my third year serving on the board of directors.

General John F. Kelly and Me Following his Lecture at the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall in Sarasota on Jan. 27, 2020.
General John F. Kelly and Me Following his Lecture at the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall in Sarasota on Jan. 27, 2020.

Image credit: Robert Pope Photography

The series has introduced me to great minds and inspirational ideas I never would have known about. It’s also encouraged me to think about my world and challenge my ideas.

Following are some of my takeaways from Gen. John Kelly’s appearance and Q&A session…

Gen. John Kelly on John Bolton

As the national media reported, Kelly said “John Bolton is an honest guy” and believes what Bolton wrote in his book about Trump to be true.

Gen. John Kelly as Secretary of Homeland Security

Kelly enjoyed being Secretary of Homeland Security and the people he worked with. He was called to the White House on a Friday to meet with Trump who offered him the Chief of Staff position. Kelly said he’d think about it over the weekend and get back with him. Kelly claims 10 minutes after he left the White House, Trump tweeted Kelly was the new Chief of Staff.

Gen. John Kelly on Trump Being Qualified to Be President

Donald Trump “is not qualified to be president, and no one is.” Not Mr. Obama. Not Mr. Bush. Not Lincoln. But, a good president will listen to their advisors.

Gen. John Kelly on the Southwest U.S. Border

“Most people coming into the U.S. illegally are not bad people” but they are seeking a better opportunity. He acknowledges what’s happening at the Southwest border with drug trafficking is bad.

Gen. John Kelly and Kim Jong-un

While sitting across from Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s Supreme Leader, he wanted to “kick his a$$.”

Gen. John Kelly’s Day Began at…

As the White House Chief of Staff, he arrived at the White House daily for 4:15 a.m. briefings!

Gen. John Kelly on Sourcing Information

Kelly praised Ringling College Library Association’s Town Hall Lecturer series for providing a forum to come together and listen to leaders and ideas. He encourages people to source their news from various sources and make decisions from them rather than listening to one network/news source.

Gen. John Kelly’s Fashion

Why the hat in the photo? He hurt his head, only saying it involved a tree and chainsaw. Ouch!


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Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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