The Compromise of General John Kelly (#51)
Now-a-days, just being in the Trump White House is to risk contamination and compromise if you are a person of principals. The contamination is succumbing to the ever present virus that infects the White House now – lies damn lies, untruths and half-truths. It’s something that seems to be inevitable, like being too close to a powerful vortex that inevitably sucks you under, regardless of your standing before you get there.
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was infected from day one when he insisted on versions of facts that were clearly not true, like the size of Trump’s inauguration crowds. Current Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is obviously infected with it as she daily distorts and denies facts. Kellyanne Conway reeks with it, as did Anthony Scaramucci for the brief time he was there, as do many others in the current administration. But the latest victim is the most shocking of all - the recently appointed Chief of Staff, Retired, Four Star Marine General, John Francis Kelly.
General John Kelly has been known to be a man of integrity and sound reputation. Most of who have known him for any length of time have spoken highly of him, calling him a gentleman, first rate, an accomplished General with a good reputation. He is also additionally honored because he is a ‘Gold Star’ father, having lost a son in combat in Afghanistan, and has a second son also serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. His is a ‘Service’ family, and he is a lifelong soldier who is extremely proud to serve his Country.
He was appointed to the White House as Chief of Staff to bring order and integrity to an almost dysfunctional administration that seemed to be constantly spinning out of control. For a very brief period of time it seemed like he was succeeding. But now, it’s quite clear that the opposite was happening. President Trump and his senior White House staff of untruthful zombies have contaminated General John Kelly, totally compromised and ‘turned’ him, as his recent performance at the White House podium proved.
President Trump is uncontrollable, and is a one-man demolition team when it comes to destroying convention and saying and doing the most inappropriate, highly objectionable thing. And increasingly ‘General’ John Kelly has been trotted out after some particularly troublesome episodes like ‘Charlottesville’, the NFL ‘kneeling during National Anthem’ controversy, and now the running battle with Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, to bring legitimacy and heft to Trump, and the White House.
In undertaking these increasingly frequent political rescue missions, worryingly, General John Kelly has been slipping towards the feckless and facts-less operating style of Trump and the White House, rather than pulling Trump and the White House 'towards the Light'.
We do not know whether it is his lifelong military training to unquestioningly follow orders and be the ‘good soldier’, taking on a dirty job and doing it to the best of his ability, while holding his nose, or if it is the fact that he has been out of the Army, and is, and has been, on the political side of senior-most bureaucracy in Washington, and has therefore become a quintessential political player to absolute Power, and thus become corrupted absolutely.
Either way, in the recent Trump stumble, when the President made his infamous and insensitively phrased call to the grieving wife of the fallen soldier, Sgt. La David Johnson, which was heard on the open speaker phone by the family friend Congresswoman Frederica Wilson and then related in the media, General John Kelly was sent out once again to bring the escalating political embarrassment under control, and to bring his special brand of legitimacy to bear, having been a Four Star General, and a Gold Star Family. Trump is never above using the ‘scared’ hypocritically, in his never ending need to justify the profane.
But this time instead of bring calm and measured dignity to the escalating feud between Congresswoman Wilson and the ever ‘bull-in-the-china-shop’ President Donald Trump, by simply stressing it was all a misunderstanding, and perhaps a poor choice of words from a well-meaning but vocabulary-challenged Trump, the General this time went right off the handle and emulated his boss Donald Trump so well - in the way he attacked Congresswoman Frederica Wilson - with blatant lies and personal insults that he left most of the listeners shell-shocked, dumb-founded and quite breathless.
Trump of course doubled down. Firstly, Trump denied saying what he obviously had said, and secondly, and incredulously, brought his favorite whipping post, Obama’s hopelessly poor comparative performance (which also turned out to be false, as usual), into the discussion as a distraction.
Instead of reining him in, as he was expected to do, as the sober Chief of Staff, John Kelly got on and rode this bucking bronco called Trump-speak, into a full-out rodeo of the disgustingly absurd. By doing so, John Kelly lost his luster as the sane one, the one with the wisdom and integrity in the loony bin, known today as the Trump White House.
The extent of his capitulation to the ‘Dark Side’ was stunning, and quite beneath him, considering the dignity of the occasion, the personal nature of his attack on a woman, in a White House known to be occupied by Trump, a known women abuser. The mind-blowing fact is – that all the while there was stark proof of the untruthfulness of all his accusations against Frederica Wilson, readily available in the form of a video tape for all to see.
This video completely contradicts what John Kelly passionately accused Frederica Wilson of, paints him in an incredibly unflattering light, and completely exonerates her.
His rant against her therefore becomes even more embarrassing and undignified, and unworthy of him. It also shows a completely different side of John Kelly. It’s not a 'John Kelly' America, or the World had expected.
The John Kelly that passionately, though entirely erroneously, attacked Frederica Wilson was a full-on Trump man, a man unafraid to personally attack a woman and call her names (he repeatedly called her “an empty barrel”) in an extremely high profile public setting. The White House of course could be counted on to stay true to form by becoming even more petty when asked about the obvious discrepancy between what Kelly said and the truth, by calling Congresswoman Wilson ‘all hat no cattle’ because of her penchant for wearing large Stetson type of hats, and implying there was no substance to her. The tape glaringly contradicts that too.
And considering the setting, and the global audience attached, due to the high profile nature of the combatants, it showed a man that was irresponsible enough that he didn’t care about the truthfulness of his accusations, and didn’t care to fact-check, before he added a truck load of high octane fuel to the conflagration already blazing.
It showed a man that chose the wrong side, and had no qualms about carrying out an immoral order, to publicly attack and denigrate a Congresswoman personally and unjustifiably, to defend Trump; a man willing to serve unquestioningly a repugnant leader that is known to lie consistently and who openly disrespect others, especially women, but also Generals, as in the past. To serve Donald Trump as the President is not the sin, but to emulate him in untruthfulness and unwarranted personal attacks is.
John Kelly boldly and falsely abused a woman, a friend of the grieving family, and then went on to abuse the trust of the Nation by letting down the High Office which he holds, and for which he is expected to be extremely circumspect.
When a man of his reputation, caliber, position and reputation destroys his own credibility, it is truly a sorry day. And tragically Donald Trump did that to him, made him into one of his own; a careless, lying, disrespectful woman abuser that just doesn’t care for the truth, or facts, or the dignity of the Office he holds. This is not the John Kelly the World expected, a contaminated and compromised man with such blatant disregard for his own credibility. And if this was the real John Kelly all along, and he is at home in an untruthful White House, then all of America, and the World, are the poorer for it.