John Kelly Lost My Respect

Three months.  That’s all it took was three months for me to reverse my opinion of White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly.  This morning, I went back and reviewed my original post assessing General Kelly when he was first assigned the job.  My assessment was that he was a good man, a fair man, and while I did not like some of his political stances (immigration, women in the military, the terrorist threat), I thought he had “the right stuff” for the job he had been given, basically the job of babysitting Trump & Co.

During his first weeks in the White House, some of Trump’s rhetoric did tone down, and the standard joke when Trump did go on a Twitter binge was that John Kelly must have had the day off.  Things calmed down, it seemed, in the White House as it was reported that Kelly strictly controlled who got in to see Trump and what information Trump was provided.  It seemed that maybe, just maybe, Kelly was bringing a bit of sanity to the administration, though some within the administration were grumbling.

But in recent days, I have had cause to re-examine my opinion and it has changed. Something happened somewhere along the line to convince Kelly to toe the party line, to be Trump’s ‘yes-man’ and to take his turn licking Trump’s boots along with the rest of the bunch.  Where did it begin?  It began when Trump, without Kelly’s prior knowledge, politicized the death of Kelly’s son who died in combat in 2010.  Trump himself had, rightly, come under intense criticism for ignoring the deaths of four Green Berets in Niger on October 4th. As is his way, rather than address the criticism, he deflected and said (untruthfully) that none of his predecessors had even called families of fallen soldiers.  As an example, he noted that President Obama had not called General Kelly to offer condolences for his son’s death.

I expected Kelly, who has kept that part of his life very private, to be enraged at the disrespect Trump had shown, but if he was, he hid it well. And then came Trump’s disastrous call to Myeshia Johnson, widow of La David Johnson, one of the four slain soldiers.  The contents of the call should not be in dispute, as Ms. Johnson was in a car with four other people and the call was put on speakerphone.  One of those four people was congresswoman, Frederica S. Wilson of Florida, a friend of the Johnson family.  She confirmed  what Ms. Johnson told the press, that Trump could not remember La David’s name and referred to him instead as “your guy”, and that he said Johnson ‘knew what he signed up for’, but that he supposed it hurt anyway.  Such compassion, eh?

Kelly jumped to Trump’s defense and condemned Representative Wilson, going into attack mode.  He has learned from Trump, obviously. Kelly told reporters that Wilson took credit for securing the funding for the building during a dedication in 2015. The building was named for two slain FBI agents. A video of the event was soon published proving Kelly wrong, but he did not acknowledge his error nor apologize.  As recently as yesterday, he still refuses to tender an apology,

And now comes the straw that is breaking this camel’s back.

Kelly, appeared visibly pained while Trump spoke in August of the “very fine people” on both sides of white nationalist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia.  We all thought it was because he disapproved of Trump’s racist remarks and was aggrieved that he could not stop him.  But on the other hand, perhaps he simply had a headache.

During an interview on Monday, for no apparent reason, Kelly launched into a diatribe that made no sense and seemed to show a side of Kelly that we had not seen before, an ignorant and largely racist side.

“I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man. He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”

Inability to compromise?  The Civil War was about southern states refusing to give up their “right” to own other human beings, slaves.  What compromise could be had?  Oh, you can keep half of your slaves?  Or, you can keep your slaves, but you can only beat them on Wednesdays?  C’mon, Mr. Kelly, compromise was not an option.  The long and short of it is that I am certain John Kelly is smart enough to know the lie in his words, to know the history behind the Civil War, but he has signed onto the alternative-facts bandwagon aka Kellyanne Conway, and there can likely be no turning back now.

I wanted to respect John Kelly.  I had great hopes that he could at last bring some order out of the chaos that defines the White House under the Trump administration.  He was supposed to be the adult in the room.  As Samantha Bee said earlier, “John Kelly, you were supposed to be the one we didn’t have to watch like a hawk. You were supposed to be the hawk.”

I do not know why this man who had earned the respect of many through his long years of service even consented to take the job in the White House.  But whatever his reasons, he is now a part of the Trump Circus Train, and I no longer respect him, no longer expect great things.  Just another sideshow. He was our last best hope that someone could rein in Trump and at least keep him from making a fatal blunder.  That hope is now dashed.

52 thoughts on “John Kelly Lost My Respect

  1. First of all, I’m really surprised that the Civil War is now a political topic in 2017, but I guess that’s the unfortunate fate of anything that can be used for controversy.

    Second of all, I really think you need to reevaluate what you say about compromise and war. Your question “What compromise could be had?” about the Civil War is a bit hasty. Do you really believe that the Civil War was inevitable? Many historians have argued both sides of this, but diplomacy and compromise was successful for decades before the Civil War. Slavery would have been abolished regardless of the Civil War. There would be no slavery in 2017 and probably by 1900 as well. It’s a matter of time, but also there are lasting effects of war that linger for generations. As we see today.

    I’m certainly very skeptical about the current government, but I am so much happier to have John Kelly where he is than Reince Priebus. And I would call that a compromise 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome! And thank you for visiting and for your well-spoken comments.

      I agree that ultimately, slavery would have been abolished, but how many lives lost or lived in utter misery until that time? The owning of another human being is simply wrong, at least in the eyes of most, and many were treated abominably. Owning slaves should actually have ended long before it did, and it will remain one of our biggest shames. Now, as I see it, if slavery had been allowed to ‘run its course’, and die a natural death, say 100 years later, where would we be today in terms of civil rights? 150 years after the end of slavery, and we still have a marked racial divide in this nation. If slavery had not been forcefully ended when it was, I do not think we would have seen the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s & 1960s, and would be even more of a racist nation than we are now. We will never know, of course, for one cannot know where the path not taken leads.

      While I may not agree with you, I do appreciate your comment and it is certainly food for thought. Question: I sense that you are outside the U.S.?

      Again … welcome, and I hope you will visit again. You may not always like what I say, but I try to shine a light on injustice and idiocy. ;).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Jill,
    I am no longer looking at General Kelly with rose colored glasses. Military officers are supposed to live by certain codes like honor, integrity, courage, etc. I expect General Kelly to own these standards but he has compromised them.
    Because of his years of service and his high rank he carries a responsibility to live up to these standards. People look up to him. To think that folks could buy into his version of the Civil War (fake news) because of his credibility, is frightening.
    I expect little from President Trump but I have high expectations for the general but he has fallen short. I am wondering if he is not a closet racist.
    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I feel the same. I find myself wanting to give him another chance, but his refusal to apologize to Ms. Wilson is disturbing, to say the least. I had such high hopes …

      Many in the media took his Civil War comments as being racist … I am not sure, so I stopped short of saying it.


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    It didn’t last long … Filosofa … ‘My assessment was that he was a good man, a fair man, and while I did not like some of his political stances (immigration, women in the military, the terrorist threat), I thought he had “the right stuff” for the job he had been given, basically the job of babysitting Trump & Co.’
    For me, he crossed the line and joined Drumpf in the gutter!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s an arguable point that an ex-military person, would when faced with a crisis, as a matter of training take the line of obeying the orders within the chain of command; having said that we are not party to the exchanges between Kelly and his ‘commander’. Against that are his public actions in his current position.
    This question will remain unanswered for the present. Is Kelly doing this because he feels the stability of The State is paramount and the continuity of and elected President must be maintained at whatever cost. The next question will be, would he or any other senior officers within the Whitehouse eventually say ‘Enough Is Enough’ and ‘snap’.
    At the end of the day the problem is and will remain the person who by the fluke of an elective system currently has the title of President of The United States of America.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make a valid point about his military training being to obey orders, but on the flip side … as a 4-star general, wouldn’t he have also been in a position to use his own head to make on-the-spot decisions and give the orders? Since I’ve never been in the military, I ask that out of ignorance, for I do not know the answer. But even at that, I am disappointed that if the order was to lie, his conscience allowed him to do so. And then to neither recant the lie nor apologize … it disappoints me.

      As to the latter, I don’t know the answer to that, either, but I certainly hope that if (when) it comes to the point that Trump is about to do something globally destructive, somebody in the administration has the guts to say “NO”. I wonder, though …

      And you are so right … all roads lead back to Trump himself. Himself needs to go reside on a small island in the Pacific surrounded by killer sharks. 🐺

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Jill
        There has always been this ethical question of a military commander’s loyalty. Is it strictly along the chain of command, or do they use their own moral judgement for the good of the nation? And then we get into the area of what happens when a military commander decides ‘They Know Best’ irrespective of whether they do or not.
        Colin Powell was an example of the best side of things.
        As for serious adventurism by the incumbent I still hold to the belief that at such a stage he will be blocked, and if continues to push will be retired, one way or another… which stage we can all clean up financially by selling tin foil hats and cheap conspiracy books to the Alt Right (easy money Jill, easy money)😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Another thought occurs to me in the issue of when does a high-ranking officer decide to use his own judgment and ignore orders … and that is what stops a corrupt officer, then, or at least one who perhaps isn’t thinking correctly, from taking over the reins. It makes my head spin, for there are so many possible outcomes, many of them poor or worse. In this particular case, I happen to think that almost anybody would be capable of making wiser decisions than Trump, but yet I do recognize that it is a slippery slope. Nothing is easy, is it?

          i like the tin foil hats and cheap conspiracy theory idea … we will make a fortune! And then, we will have the next hurdle to scale … y’know … I’m thinking it might just be easier to sit on the side of a mountain strumming a guitar and eating wild berries for a few years. 🎸 🍓

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hi Jill.
            On the first point this is why democracy is a poor form of government but all the alternatives are so much worse. (Unless of course it’s me with my benevolent, but strict socialist state 🙃) Which I guess is where the true anarchists have their point.
            If you are going to opt for the quite credible notion of sitting on a mountain, don’t forget the t-Shirt with the slogan ‘Toldja!’😉

            Liked by 1 person

            • More and more I am coming to like your idea of a benevolent yet strict socialist state. It seems that all forms of governments are destined to fail at some point or another. Humans just cannot seem to figure out how to live together peacefully, so they (note that I said “they”, excluding myself 😉 ) keep trying the same old things, though dressed and touted as ‘new’ things, over and over again. I suppose it is what keeps life interesting and gives historians something to write about, but …

              Thanks for the idea about the t-shirt! 👕

              Liked by 1 person

  5. All those political stances you din’t like were an indication of the man you were to get. With his refusal to apologise to Cogresswoman Wilson for branding her a liar, nor for suggesting she took credit that wasn’t hers proves that he’s just another form of Trump. It’s a pity he didn’t retire into obscurity with his ideas.
    xxx Cwtch xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, those stances, such as not thinking women belonged in the military, and supporting the idea of Trump’s infernal wall, did set my nose to twitching, but I told it to hush, that he had skills that could bring order out of chaos and that his heart was in the right place. Remind me in the future to listen to my nose. 😉

      xxx Cwtch xxx

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Jill, he was definitely the more sober, competent, sane person as compared to his boss. He is still is relatively speaking, but these two episodes are disappointing. You were kind to reblog my post “Great Leaders make everyone around them better,” with the converse being true for the President, who makes everyone worse. Kelly has just confirmed this to be true. He has harmed his reputation trying to abet his boss. I had hoped he would apologize after lying about the Congresswoman. He has not. That is too bad. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

  7. No surprise to me…..Fair-minded, as I try to be, I’m also reminded of words spoken by the Nazarene, ‘Be wise as serpents and gentle (harmless) as doves’……which, in turn, reminds me of the old adage: ‘Birds of a feather flock together’….. 😉 Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I was more generous than you and gave him 6 months … but like you, I expected him out the door, not to have joined in the circus, or drunk the Kool-Aid!!! Who’s next? I’m afraid to even speculate at this point. And anyway, my predictive skills are proving pretty worthless these days … I’m thinking that i may need to upgrade to a better quality crystal ball 😉 One thing for sure, it’s never dull. Hope you’re feeling better?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I really enjoy your blog. I am on the opposite side of the political spectrum but respect your views. My opinion of General Kelly is still unblemished, but I am biased. I’m a retired veteran and it’s really hard for me to fault him for anything at this point. I hope you keep posting your opinions, it really gives me a good idea of what the Left is about. Great posting. Best, Dave

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Dave! And thank you for proving a point I keep making … that we CAN have civil discourse between liberals and conservatives, democrats and republicans, that there is no need to yell and be rude. I appreciate your respectful comment.

      I think that perhaps I should have phrased this post a bit differently, or added a caveat. I DO respect Kelly for his service to country, for all that he has done during his tenure. It is only his recent behaviours that have caused me to lose respect, but that should in no way erase the respect he has earned while serving his country. My apologies on that one, and in fact I may go back and add that. Thanks for making me think, and thank you for reading my work and taking time to comment. I hope you’ll come back … bring your friends, for we need some discussion from the other side of the aisle! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dave Gardner,
      As a military brat, I hold the military in high esteem. For me, General Kelly is not living up to the standards of the Marine Corps. I recommend that you read “Some Civil War Reading for those Who Dare Question Trump, Kelly, and Sanders” from the blog “Padre Steve’s World…Musings of a Progressive Realist in Wonderland.”
      Thanks for keeping up with different points of views, Gronda

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I don’t believe nor trust ANYONE In this administration. Period. And the sentence, “…Kelly strictly controlled who got in to see (It) and what information (It) was provided.”, says a mouthful. It definitely needs a babysitter, and It’s access to Twitter should be severely restricted. The whole mess is so maddening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is maddening, but also frightening, for I know not where it ends. Does it end with a nation that is no longer a democratic republic, but an autocracy? Does it end in massive amounts of bloodshed? And do we ever heal from the wounds that have been and are being inflicted? I have no answers, only questions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have confidence that the people, and the Costitution, will defend this country. There’s a reason the forefathers wrote in the balance of power. To prevent autocracy. Bloodshed? Not sure. But I’d assume that on some level, yes, either literally or metaphorically.

        Mid-term elections are the first opportunity to put a monkey wrench into Its ability to run amok. Then boot his ass for good in November of 2020. But we have to speak with our votes.

        These fools do not represent the majority of the people, nor do they hold to the very values this country was founded on.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I fully agree … those who are eligible to vote simply MUST get out there and vote in both 2018 and 2020. I suspect Trump will be gone before 2020, but we will have Pence, the bigot. As for the constitutional safeguards … they are only as good as those who protect them, and I am not convinced that Trump will not shred at least part of the Constitution. I hope I am wrong.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m completely disgusted. I’ve been thinking. What would the make-up.of this country be today if a “compromise” had been reached? Would there still be some states where owning slaves would be legal? And as far as Robert E. Lee being honorable, nothing could be further from the truth. He was a traitor and his his vile views of slavery are detailed in letters he wrote to his wife. One of these views was that the abuse of slaves was for their own good. Grr.😠

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have wondered the same, and it’s hard to say. I think slavery would have gone by the wayside within a couple of decades on its own, but I seriously doubt that we would have had the Civil Rights movement, and although there is blatant racism in this nation today, I think it would have been much worse. I suspect we would still have serious segregation in schools and a lack of opportunity for blacks in the areas of housing and employment. But it’s just speculation on my part … I just wish all people could look past skin colour, ethnicity, gender issues, religion etc., and treat people as human beings. If somebody commits evil acts, treat them accordingly regardless of their race, but otherwise, be kind to everyone. Sheesh … is that so hard? We all share this planet, after all!

      Liked by 1 person

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