- January 20, 2014
Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly left no topic untouched during the Ringling College Town Hall on Jan. 25 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
The retired U.S. Marine general –– who wore a khaki baseball cap to cover up a yard work accident –– kicked off the lecture series' 40th year speaking about Russia, China, North Korea, health care, terrorism, domestic politics and immigration.
In his 35 minutes on stage, Kelly said he supports the press and believes “the media is a necessary component of our democracy” and he said he believes the key to helping the American people is to elect more military veterans to Congress.
“If we had more veterans –– Democrats and Republicans –– in Congress, it will change this inertia that’s out there to something that's more productive,” he said.
Following his speech, Kelly participated in a Q&A session. Kelly fielded questions about his 18 months in the White House, first as the Secretary of Homeland Security and then as Chief of Staff before resigning in January 2019.
An audience member asked if Kelly thought the country’s next president would look more like President Donald Trump who is “different in his skills, style, temperament, behavior and approach to other world leaders” or like presidents of the past.
When Kelly responded that he thinks future leaders will reflect those of the past he was met with a round of applause from the audience.
The Ringling Town Hall series will continue on Feb. 11 with American travel writer Rick Steves.