White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said Jan. 31 that a Los Angeles-area high school teacher "ought to go to hell" for bashing U.S. military service members in classroom remarks.
Kelly, a retired Marine general, blasted Gregory Salcido in an interview with Fox News Radio.
Salcido has been off work from El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera after video surfaced of him scolding a 17-year-old student who was wearing a U.S. Marine Corps sweatshirt.
Then-Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly and Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul F. Zukunft share a light moment during the 136th U.S. Coast Guard Academy Commencement in New London, Conn., May 17, 2017. Both leaders addressed the graduating class at the ceremony. (Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)
The student captured Salcido urging him not to join the military and referring to military service members with a crude term for stupid.
"They're not like high-level thinkers, they're not academic people, they're not intellectual people; they're the frickin' lowest of our low," Salcido says on the recording.
"I don't understand why we let the military guys come over here and recruit you at school. We don't let pimps come in the school," Salcido adds.
The video was posted online Jan. 26 by a friend of the student's mother. It went viral and has drawn millions of views, along with outraged comments.
Kelly added his own on Jan. 31.
"Well, I think the guy ought to go to hell," Kelly told Fox News Radio. "I just hope he enjoys the liberties and the lifestyle that we have fought for."
The video doesn't show Salcido's face but his suburban school district has confirmed he made the remarks during class.
The El Rancho Unified School District is investigating and placed Salcido on leave Jan. 29.
"Our classrooms are not the appropriate place for one-sided discussions that undermine the values our families hold dear," the district said in a statement.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department increased security at the school.
In an email, Salcido told the Los Angeles Times that he wouldn't comment on the situation "because of the many vulgar and violent threats against my family."
Salcido, a Pico Rivera City Council member, also has drawn criticism from his council colleagues. Mayor Gustavo Camacho told CNN that he plans to strip Salcido of his committee assignments.