White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it would be "highly inappropriate" to criticise Chief Of Staff John F Kelly over his recent remarks towards Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. During a press briefing on Friday, Sanders told reporters: "If you want to go after General Kelly, that's up to you. But I think that if you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, that's something that's highly inappropriate."
Kelly recently criticised Wilson over a condolence phone call Trump placed to a Gold Star family during which the president controversially told the widow of a fallen soldier that her husband "knew what he signed up for." Kelly also took aim at Wilson for allegedly boasting about securing funding for a federal building named for two slain FBI agents and failing to honour the agents.
His account was later disproved after a video of the event emerged.
Kelly is a retired four-star Marine general who served in the military for over four decades and is also a Gold Star parent who lost a son in Afghanistan.
Twitter, on the other hand, immediately resurfaced some of President Donald Trump's old tweets attacking other four-star generals.
One of Trump's older tweets from July 2016 that was resurfaced by Representative Don Beyer of Virginia read: "General John Allen, who I never met but spoke against me last night, failed badly in his fight against ISIS. His record = BAD #NeverHillary".
In September, Trump targeted retired four-star General Colin Powell.
"I was never a fan of Colin Powell after his weak understanding of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq = disaster. We can do much better!" Trump wrote in September 2016.
"The hypocrisy is endless," one Twitter user wrote. Another said: "America is not an authoritarian regime (yet). It is very appropriate to question John Kelly, Donald Trump and everyone in this White House when they lie to the American people."