Being a retired military man, I was disappointed with retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff. Kelly tried to defend Trump at a press conference for a blunder Trump made in the way he gave condolences to a killed soldier’s family. Trump told the family of the fallen soldier that he (the soldier) knew what he signed up for when he joined the Army. This was distasteful to the family and was called out by Congresswoman Fredericka Wilson, a Florida Democrat from the killed soldier’s hometown. Wilson was invited to ride in the limousine with the family and heard Trump’s condolences to the soldier’s wife in a conversation which was amplified and heard by family members and everyone who was in the vehicle at the time.
At a news conference Trump drew ire when he falsely claimed that most presidents didn’t make telephone calls to families of fallen troops, especially President Obama. Trump claimed that President Obama did not make phone calls to service members’ families following their deaths. He was later called out by a reporter as not telling the truth. Trump then walked back his comment by saying he didn’t know if Obama did make phone calls but he was told that he didn’t. In his effort to discredit Obama he made a mess out of the whole incident of the death of four soldiers killed in an ambush in Niger, Africa.
Instead of admitting he made a mistake and apologizing to the family Trump, who is the master tactician of diversion, went to work once again by using General Kelly to distract from his own poor judgment. Kelly, whose son was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010, was duped by Trump who revealed portions of Kelly’s story as a gold star family (relatives of U.S. military members who died in battle).
Kelly shared that President Obama did not call him when his son was killed. Not knowing that Trump would use his story for Trump’s selfish gains, Trump quickly threw Kelly under the bus by announcing to the press that Kelly told him that Obama never called him when his son was killed.
Kelly, now in the barrel, had to go before the press to defend his honor after telling Trump he had not received a call from Obama. Initially Kelly did a pretty good job and the people who know Trump could empathize with Kelly’s presentation. But Kelly for some reason after giving a good presentation about his son’s death and gold star families attacked Congresswoman Wilson.
Wilson, who has been a family friend of the killed soldier since his childhood, was unfairly scolded by Kelly. New in politics, Kelly lied about a speech that Wilson made in 2015 at the dedication of an FBI building in South Florida. He said she claimed to have raised money for the building without even mentioning or recognizing the two fallen federal agents for whom the building was named. News media researched the matter and reported that Wilson never mentioned getting money for the building and she did mention the two fallen agents.
I had put a lot of faith in Kelly. As Chief of Staff, I felt he would be able to somewhat govern what the President does. However, the president seems to have coopted Kelly as he has many others on his staff.
When is the Congress going to see that Trump is a master of diversion who is incapable of being President and take steps to remove him. He does anything to divert attention from the Russian Investigation.
The inaction of Congress is just step-by-step tearing the country apart. How long can this last? Trump has too many flaws to be President of the United States of America.
Shedrick Byrd is a frequent contributor to the New Journal and Guide.