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No hope in the White House for honesty, justice

SUSAN K. SMITH | 11/13/2017, 6:01 p.m.
When Gen. John Kelly replaced Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff in the current White House, many breathed a sigh ...

Crazy Faith Ministries

When Gen. John Kelly replaced Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff in the current White House, many breathed a sigh of relief. While Priebus seemed not to have had any control over the president, the staff or the information that leaked from the White House, people believed Kelly, a soldier who respects order and protocol, would reign the president in and bring order to what on the outside looked like pathological chaos.

But we saw this week that not even Kelly is who many of us wanted him to be or hoped he would be. We believed that he would be honest at all costs, that he would stand up to the president and speak truth to power. We believed that he would not be compromised, and for a moment, we saw light in what has been a dark period of time for many since the 2016 presidential elections.

Kelly was drawn into an unfortunate discussion about his son’s death as a soldier after the president, seeking an escape from questions as to why he had not mentioned the fact that four Green Berets had died in Niger, deflected the question by comparing himself to his nemesis, former President Obama.

He was going to call the victims’ families, he said, something neither former Obama or Bush had done. That caused a firestorm in the media, with reporters seeking to see if what he had said was in fact true.

Meanwhile, the body of one of those Green Berets, 24-year-old Sgt. LaDavid Johnson, was on its way home. Johnson’s body was found 48 hours after the bodies of the other were found. With no answers as to what happened, and no support or even mention from the United States government, Johnson’s pregnant wife met her husband’s coffin at Miami International Airport. There, she wept over his flag-draped coffin and walked away from her grief into a situation that only exacerbated her pain.

The president decided to call her and apparently said words that were likely meant to be comforting, but which missed the mark. On speaker phone, the president was heard to say that young Johnson had known what he was getting into when he signed into the military. His widow reportedly broke down into tears, but one lawmaker, in the car with the family, heard the call and reported what had been said.

It is safe to say or to assume that the president likely meant to be comforting. He just missed the mark.

But the congresswoman, Frederica Wilson, was outraged and shared with the world what she had heard the president say. The president did his normal thing: defended himself, said Wilson lied and called her a name.

Then he got Gen. John Kelly to go on television and defend him.

Kelly did as he was asked. He stepped right into the middle of this heap of dung and sullied himself and his reputation by treating Rep. Wilson as though she were inhuman. He never said her name; he intimated that she had lied about what the president had said, and then he told a story about how she had bragged about getting money for a project in Florida at a ceremony that was being held to honor slain FBI agents for which a project had been named.