Tuesday, June 11, 2024

IKelly's Move

Periodically, I post a "Tweet of the Day," which for all its irregularity, is more like "Tweet of the Year." However, this one is too good to pass up

As most- not enough- Americans know from the report by The Atlantic's editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg in September 2022

When President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, near Paris, in 2018, he blamed rain for the last-minute decision, saying that “the helicopter couldn’t fly” and that the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him there. Neither claim was true.

Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed. 

Trump- or as CNN's Jake Tapper would put it- "President Trump" states

They make up stories- disinformation. A story like that. Think o fit from a practical standpoint. I'm standing there with generals and military people. In a cemetery. And I look at them and say "these people are suckers and losers."

Now, think of it. Unless you're a psycho or a crazy person or a very stupid person, who would say that , anyway? But who would say it to military people with military- because as President of the United States, I would say if I made that statement- if I have generals here, if I have it-- I would imagine that most of them would end up in a major fist fight with the President, O.K.? And you know what I would have said? It was O.K. in that instance. They made up a story- just out of thin air like a lot of the fake stories that are made up by these people because they're among the most dishonest people in the country- the fake news, they're dishonest people.

Kelly left the Administration in December of 2020 after serving as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Chief of Staff to President Trump, approximately 20 months before General John Kelly revealed the information Goldberg reported. 

Of course, there is little to no chance that The Atlantic "made up the story- just out of thin air," and "little chance" is on its way out of town. It is possible that Kelly made up the comments he attributed to President Trump but the latter lacks half the courage to point his figure at a retired general.

And it's improbable that Kelly fabricated his account. Thirteen months after the Atlantic report, he would remark to CNN of Trump 

A person that thinks those who defend their country in uniform, or are shot down or seriously wounded in combat, or spend years being tortured as POWs are all ‘suckers’ because ‘there is nothing in it for them, A person that did not want to be seen in the presence of military amputees because ‘it doesn’t look good for me.’ A person who demonstrated open contempt for a Gold Star family — for all Gold Star families — on TV during the 2016 campaign, and rants that our most precious heroes who gave their lives in America’s defense are ‘losers’ and wouldn’t visit their graves in France.

A person who is not truthful regarding his position on the protection of unborn life, on women, on minorities, on evangelical Christians, on Jews, on working men and women. A person that has no idea what America stands for and has no idea what America is all about. A person who cavalierly suggests that a selfless warrior who has served his country for 40 years in peacetime and war should lose his life for treason – in expectation that someone will take action. A person who admires autocrats and murderous dictators. A person that has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution, and the rule of law.

There is nothing more that can be said. God help us.

This guy was a United States General with reverence for the office of the Presidency, whose occupant is Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces when called into battle. He is also a conservative and would not have criticized the Republican President unless the latter showed serious contempt for members of those Armed Forces.

Trump knew that- and knew that General Kelly was unlikely to repeat the President's remarks and, if he did, would do so in a fashion that wouldn't hurt Trump and help the Democrats. 

One commenter to Filipkowski's post wisely asks "Shouldn't John Kelly find some bravery in Miles Taylor and Olivia Troye going on camera? What's it going to take? Yet, for every Taylor and Troye, there are dozens more like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Lindsay Graham, J.D. Vance, and the other Republicans who once criticized Donald Trump and now are slavishly devoted to him or nearly so. 

Donald Trump put his chips down on a bet that it's going to take more than the likelihood of electing a President who has threatened to wipe out the Constitution to convince General Kelly to put his prestige on the line. Think of Anthony Fauci, who before the last presidential election kept his mouth shut about the dangers of Donald Trump, betting the latter would lose the office. Fauci won that gamble and Kelly, God help us, may be making the same calculation.

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