Well, I have, in the past, given General John Kelly, Trump’s Chief of Staff, too much credit. I thought he was the grown-up in the room.
But yesterday, he gave a press conference – an admittedly moving one – talking about what it is like to have a son killed in combat. He knows. And then he laid into the Congresswoman Wilson who criticized Trump for saying to the grieving Gold Star family that “this is what he [their dead son] signed up for”.
Interestingly, he did not deny that Trump said that. In fact, he had used those words TO TRUMP when Trump asked him what he should say.
But Kelly got so much wrong, according to Wilson’s (and the family’s) hometown paper, the Miami Herald, “In attack on Frederica Wilson over Trump’s call to widow, John Kelly gets facts wrong”:
… Kelly criticized Democratic U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson for claiming “she got the money” for the new building during the 2015 ceremony while he and others in the audience were focused on the heroism of agents Benjamin Grogan and Jerry Dove, killed during a 1986 shootout with bank robbers south of Miami…
In 2015, Wilson won praise from Miami Republicans for sponsoring the bill to name the long anticipated federal building after two agents who became legends in local law enforcement.
At the dedication ceremony, James Comey, then director of the FBI, lauded Wilson’s legislation, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama three days before the April 2015 ceremony…
Johnson was a constituent of Wilson’s who participated in a program founded by the longtime legislator called the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, which mentors African-American boys and young men.
“Sgt. Johnson was a member of my community and of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project that I founded to help boys of color build successful futures,” Wilson said in a statement. “He was killed while on a mission to provide training and security assistance to West African armed forces battling vicious insurgents like Boko Haram, the group whose defeat I’ve been fighting for since it abducted nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls more than three years ago.”
Kelly said he was “shocked” that the Congresswoman “listened in” to the call, when in fact, she was in the car when the call came in and it was put on speakerphone. Now TRUMP is running with that false story.
The Fake News is going crazy with wacky Congresswoman Wilson(D), who was SECRETLY on a very personal call, and gave a total lie on content!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2017
Look, Kelly is a bonafide general officer and combat veteran. When he speaks about military sacrifice we listen. We should. He speaks with some authority, from experience, unlike the President. But the rhetorical spine of Kelly’s remarks was unmistakable: Attacks on President Trump are attacks on the sanctity of heroism and patriotic sacrifice itself. Again, attacking President Trump is attacking the troops. It’s the same maneuver driving Trump’s war on the NFL. Kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism and police misconduct really isn’t about police brutality or racism it all. It’s spitting on the sacrifice of American soldiers.
Kelly has swallowed some KoolAid, and bowed to the altar of Trumpism.
What is it about the President that makes everything turn to shit?