I’M JUST SAYING. . . John Kelly Is Flea Bitten Too

My nephew was 8 when his Dad was killed in Iraq in 2005. I’m not sure that qualifies me, a great aunt, as a member of a Gold Star family, but I can identify with the pain of losing a loved one in combat.
This brings me to the recent uproar that has pitted the Trump White House against Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson.
Wilson is a family friend and was a mentor to Sgt. LaDavid Johnson, one of the four Green Berets killed earlier this month while on a mission in the West African nation of Niger. Wilson was in the limousine with Sgt. Johnson’s wife and family heading to meet the flag-draped casket bearing LaDavid’s remains. During their somber ride, the President called Myeshia Johnson, who is six months pregnant with the couple’s third child. Among other things, without ever mentioning her husband’s name, the President told Mrs, Johnson that “her guy” knew what he signed up for.
The family, according to Congresswoman Wilson, was appalled. They found the President’s remarks to be insensitive at a very sensitive time. Of course, this President couldn’t resist clapping back. He tweeted that he Wilson lied. He never said any such thing to Myeshia Johnson and to back up him up  the White House trotted Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly out before the cameras.
As a retired and decorate Marine General and a “Gold Star” father, Kelly has the credibility to talk about the emotional impact on a family when news comes that their loved one has been killed in action. His son, Second Lt. Robert Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. The President can make no such claim. He avoided service during the Vietnam War and his children have never enlisted.
Until the dragged into this controversy, Kelly has said little in public about losing his son. He was eloquent in educating the public about what happens on the battlefield and why Gold Star families should be revered for their sacrifices. He should have stopped there. Instead, Kelly ripped a page out of the Trumpian book of lies. He attacked Congresswoman Wilson. He called her “an empty barrel” and a grandstander. He offered as proof his recollection of a speech Wilson gave at 2015 dedication of an FBI building in her district. He said that he was “stunned” by her self-absorbtion. In his apparent haste to take down the congresswoman Kelly failed to check his facts. He misrepresented Wilson’s remarks at the dedication by a mile. Moreover, rather refuting Wilson’s recollection of the conversation in the limo, Kelly affirmed it. The President said what Wilson said he did. She did not lie.
Kelly is a Gold Star father, yes, and he’s now on the battlefield of politics serving a Commander in Chief who is emotionally unstable and lies all the time. Kelly’s in bed with a President who demands loyalty from those in his administration that requires them to justify his lies and contradictions at the expense of whatever honor and reputations as decent and honest human beings they may once have had.
It is possible that Wilson and Sgt. Johnson’s family misconstrued the President’s clumsy attempt to comfort them. In the heat of raw emotion, it’s possible to take wrong an intended kind or comforting word. In such cases, decent people might feel compelled to start all over again and apologize to the dead soldier’s family. They might say, “I sincerely regret that what I said didn’t come out right. It was never my intention to offended you.” But no. The counter-puncher-in-chief, of whom it has been said, has “the empathy of a cockroach” has a compulsion to go low. Worse,
despite proof that the President lied and that Kelly consciously or unconsciously misrepresented Congresswoman Wilson’s remarks, no apologies are coming from the White House. In other words, they know they’re lying but they’re sticking to it. And note to Sarah Huckabee Saunders, the White House press secretary and also a profligate liar: Kelly’s military service does not make anything he says indisputable truth from the mouth of God.
“If you lie down with dogs, you’ll come up with fleas,” my elders often said. Add John Kelly to the appallingly long list of the flea-bitten who’ve forfeited any credibility they may have had in slavish devotion to the reprobate in the White House.

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