|White House Chief of Staff John Kelly|
A cursory glance at his lengthy service record leaves little doubt about his love of country, or that he merits the respect of his fellow American citizens.
But it hasn't taken long for him to sink down into the very morass that he was supposed to fix.
After Fake President became defensive about all the negative attention he was receiving for taking twelve days to finally reach out to the families of the four U.S. servicemen killed in an ambush in Niger by terrorists supposedly aligned with ISIS earlier this month, he did what he usually does.
He started throwing around baseless accusations in an effort to blame other people for his own failings - not surprisingly, his target was President Obama.
On Monday, Trump flat out lied by suggesting that pervious U.S. presidents had not reached out to the families of fallen American soldiers as much as he had - as if consoling grieving families is some kind of competition.
It's well known that Obama often went to Andrews Air Force Base in the middle of the night outside Washington, D.C. to pay respects to the remains of fallen soldiers arriving back from overseas before meeting privately with the families at the base chapel.
He frequently visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland too.
(Isn't it interesting that regardless of the issue, somehow it always ends up being about Trump's off-the-chart narcissism?)
|Robert Kelly (left) with his brother John Jr. (center)|
and his father John Kelly, Sr. (right)
A 1st lieutenant in the 5th Marine Division, Robert Kelly was 29-years old when was killed after stepping on a land mine in Afghanistan during his 3rd combat tour.
Kelly rarely spoke about his son's death publicly, so it's a pretty sad reflection of the monumental insensitivity and ethical cluelessness of Trump to use a personal tragedy like that to bolster a lie.
By Tuesday afternoon Trump was facing mounting criticism over his lies about previous presidents, and was clearly desperate to try and at least appear as if he gave a shit about the four fallen U.S. soldiers killed in Niger.
So instead of apologizing for speaking in error, or taking twelve days to contact any of the family members, he blundered yet again when he called up Myeshia Johnson, the widow of the 25-year old African-American Army special forces sergeant LaDavid Johnson who was one of the four killed in the attack.
Trump called her in the limo that was taking her to the airport to receive her husband's flag-draped coffin, and his insensitive and ill-timed comments angered both the soldier's mother Cowanda Jones-Johnson and Florida Democratic Congresswoman Frederica Wilson - who were both in the car and heard Trump's call on speakerphone.
|Myeshia Johnson weeps over her husband's|
coffin on Tuesday
Congresswoman Wilson publicly took Trump to the woodshed for his clearly unscripted comments during the call, and in an interview with the Washington Post on Wednesday, the soldier's mother confirmed Wilson's allegations saying:
"President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband."
In response, Trump basically called the widow and mother of a fallen U.S. soldier liars by publicly denying he'd said the things Wilson claimed he'd said on the call.
Now at this point, one would think the White House Chief of Staff would have stepped in to try and halt this epic PR disaster, right?
Sure enough, John Kelly did step in, but rather than try to privately counsel Trump to dial back the rhetoric, stop attacking the widow and mother of a fallen soldier and the Congresswoman who knew him personally, Kelly made an on-camera appearance in the White House briefing room on Thursday.
Not only did he discuss his son's death in Afghanistan in 2010, he did so to try and justify the flagrant lie that Trump told on Monday about other U.S. presidents not comforting grieving families.
Kelly stepped waist deep in the swamp - and then some.
Not content to polish up Trump's lies, he joined the Trump White House's uncaged attack-dog mentality, ignored the obvious optics of the situation (a racist president attacking the African-American members of a soldier who gave his life for his county) and suddenly veered into a bizarre alt-righty character assassination of Rep. Wilson.
As careful examination of the video of a nine-minute speech Wilson gave during the dedication of a federal building in 2015 named after two FBI agents shows, as the New York Times reported on Friday, it became clear that the Boston-born, Irish Catholic former four-star Marine general John Kelly lied in front of millions of people.
|Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson|
In fact, the video shows her giving credit for a Republican-majority Congress quickly authorizing funds for the federal building to several Republican Congressman, including the former Speaker of the House John Boehner.
Desperately trying to defend yet another White House bundle of lies, the truth-adverse WH press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders then veered even further into territory that can only be described as disturbingly pro-authoritarian by suggesting that members of the press had no right to question anything that Chief of Staff John Kelly said because he used to be a four-star Marine general.
What planet is she on? Like Trump, she later walked back her comments in a rather timid written statement when the degree of the authoritarian absurdity of what she'd said became apparent.
But she also expended more of the White House's dwindling credibility by peddling more juvenile character assassination jabs at Wilson - as one point even poking fun at the colorful hats that Wilson is known for wearing.
Like her hats have anything to do with Trump waiting twelve days to try and reach out to the families of four fallen service members, then politicizing the death of John Kelly's son Robert to justify his having lied.
Yet another disastrous week for an erratic dysfunctional White House that seems almost clinically detached from the optics of the remarkably petty battles it chooses to engage in.
It's hard to gauge what's going on with John Kelly, a man who devoted his entire career to service, honor and duty, apparently reduced to shilling for a xenophobic racist sociopath and compulsive liar who's just insecure enough to pick fights with Gold Star families.
With Trump, the bar is so low we expect that kind of low-life bush-league crap.
But Et Tu John Kelly?