He said that he initially advised Trump not to make phone calls to families.
Kelly told Trump, "There's nothing you can do to lighten the burden." The president called the four families who lost soldiers in Niger and offered condolences in "the best way he could ... It stuns me" that a member of Congress listened in on that phone call. "I thought at least that's sacred," he said. The Chief of Staff also confirmed that the president told Myesha Johnson her husband "knew what he signed up for" and added Trump meant the statement as a testament to La David Johnson's heroism
- On the situation in Niger: "An investigation does not mean ... people's heads are gonna roll."
- Kelly spent over an hour at Arlington Cemetery yesterday to "collect [his] thoughts."
The salient fact that is getting buried in all this is the fact that Congresswoman Frederica Wilson was one of several people in a limousine when the call came through and the phone was on speaker. She could not have avoided hearing what was said. She did nothing to intrude herself into the situation, which is how Kelly is spinning it. And then it gets worse. The Hill:
After learning of what he called Wilson’s “selfish behavior,” Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general whose son was killed in battle in Afghanistan, said he was so taken aback that he walked for an hour and a half in Arlington National Cemetery to compose himself.
Speaking slowly and solemnly, he described Thursday what happened when he learned he [his son Robert] had been killed.
“He was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed,” Kelly remembered being told by his casualty officer, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, who is now chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff.
“He knew what he was getting into by joining that one percent,” he added. “He knew what the possibilities were because we're at war.”
Then Kelly finished off this debacle upon a debacle by saying, “He [Trump] expressed his condolences in the best way that he could.”
Isn’t that wonderful? The Fox News watching Trumpites will eat that up with a spoon because they know that their boy Donald is learning and trying. Justification and excuses flow more freely in the Trump administration than milk and honey in Eden. They must have a third faucet next to hot and cold in the White House by now, labelled “duplicity.”
This is the second time this week that John Kelly has come forth to normalize this insane administration and in that process demean and diminish existing institutions and individuals. He took a swipe at the media earlier this week, decrying all the “misreporting” he saw and admonishing the press to “get better sources,” and now Kelly has demonized Rep. Wilson when all she was, in truth, was a family friend who told the truth of what happened in the limousine and the Johnson family corroborated her statement.
No attention, needless to say, was paid to Trump’s obligatory twitter tantrum where he accused Wilson of “fabrication” and said he could prove it. No, Kelly waffled beautifully with this one. He's a spin meister, par excellence. He could step into a post at Breitbart or Fox News at any time. He's perfect. They can’t answer a direct question either, they pivot and then attack somebody innocent to deflect attention from Trump. That is precisely what happened in Washington this afternoon.
Kelly has said that the military men and women are the best one percent that this nation produces. Indeed they are. It’s John Kelly who is failing to live up to the lofty standard he touts by putting his new job as White House propagandist above his code of honor as a Marine, not to mention his oath as Chief of Staff. John Kelly is a snake.
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