White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly is chasing a bad trade. We've all done it, defended something that we knew was wrong, but we were in too deep to let go. But let it go he must, or it will pull him down into the mire.
Kelly went out on a limb Thursday, then he sawed the limb off behind himself. That good men come to diminish themselves within 90 days of their White House service is not just astonishing, it's a certainty.
General Kelly's performance in front of the White House press corps last week was part of Trump's charade to distract from the deaths of four soldiers. Tomorrow, I'm going to tell you why those four soldiers died at the risk of your rage.
You will either think I'm lying or worse, suspect that I may be right.
General Kelly was disgusted that his son's death was politicized. Puffy-headed White House Press Secretary, Sarah Hucklebee Hound told us so, although she omitted the part about it being their boss, Donald Trump who dragged the name of Robert Kelly into his own quagmire of lies and distractions.
As a Marine, Kelly took an oath to defend the Constitution. He took the same oath when he signed onto his current position. Why he should defend THIS president is anyone's guess.
As always, Kelly was articulate and his words were moving, if not perplexing.
One of Kelly's more ridiculous claims was that if you haven't been in combat or are a member of the family of the deceased, you can't properly offer sympathy to someone in mourning.
Putting aside the fact that he's talking about the President of the United States, not a Starbucks barista, it's the same as saying that you can't offer comfort to someone who lost a loved one to cancer unless you, yourself have had cancer.
We know that Kelly understands sacred duty, but other things he mentioned as sacred left me scratching my head.
General Kelly said that he grew up in a world where women were sacred, which seemed to be a crack at this boss, the pussy grabber.
Kelly and I both grew up in the 50's and 60's and yes, we were taught to respect women. Nobody said anything about them being sacred though; they certainly weren't treated that way in the work place. Women weren't even allowed to vote in national elections until 1930.
In the 60's, our image of the American woman was June Cleaver, properly dressed and waiting for her man to come home to the meal she'd cooked. The term "barefoot and pregnant" was understood by all.
General Kelly also mentioned Gold star families as being sacred, something with which I fervently agree. Gold Star families should be treated with the utmost of deference and respect. It's only Donald Trump who doesn't seem to get that, which seems to play pretty well within the Basket.
Attacking Ghazala and Khizr Khan was even a step lower than Trump's attack on John McCain and his imprisoned comrades.
One of Kelly's problems defending his boss is that it's impossible to juxtapose the concept of selfless devotion with the name Trump. They don't get it, not any of them.
General Kelly voided his claim to non-partisanship by attacking Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. More notable is that in his remarks, Kelly failed to mention the fallen soldier, Sergeant La David Johnson.
Isn't Johnson what this was supposed to be about in the first place?
Trump and Kelly both lambasted Congresswoman Wilson for listening in on the conversation between Trump and Myeshia Johnson, Gold Star widow of La David Johnson. In irony or hypocrisy though, Trump cited Kelly's presence during the phone call as proof of his version of the conversation.
I cringed when Kelly called Wilson an "empty barrel," but he genuinely stepped in it when he incorrectly accused her of taking credit for the funding of an FBI building in Florida. She did not. Her remarks primarily heaped effusive praise on the two FBI agents for whom the building was being named.
With the stench of Trump clinging to his soul, Kelly did not apologize for misspeaking, doubling down instead.
When Hucklebee Hound was questioned about Kelly's false accusation, she scolded the White House press corps for questioning a four-star general.
Ms. Hucklebee Hound apparently has the same disregard for the 1st Amendment as her boss.
It's unlikely that she ever read the 1997 book by National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, himself a three-star general.
In "Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam" McMaster makes the case that democracy and transparency demand questioning of the generals and the administration.
General Kelly's heretofore unblemished reputation is intertwined with the death of his son, Second Lieutenant Robert Kelly. Sadly, both have been diminished in what has become a pattern for those who are forced to defend and explain Donald Trump's feckless and inarticulate abuse of the English language and his lies.
General Kelly is correct, some things used to be sacred and we should think about regaining those values. Why don't we start with truth?
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