The strength and power of General John Kelly

Sometimes the best spokesmen aren't spokesmen.  They are the authentic participants, the genuinely knowledgeable, the people who were there.  General John Kelly, President Trump's chief of staff, was that, in the best press conference ever given from the Trump White House and probably all the others before it.

Kelly addressed the recent controversy that came after a congresswoman, Democrat Frederica Wilson of Florida, sought to make political hay by telling the press that President Trump called a slain serviceman's grieving  widow and, as Wilson listened in, callously told her that "he knew what he was getting into."  The implication was that Trump thought the serviceman deserved his death and he could not care less.  The media ran with it, using it to build up its already existing narrative of President Trump as a crude, indifferent troglodyte who could not be trusted as commander in chief.  The White House and Trump himself tried to deny it, and the brouhaha descended into a secondary battle about presidential condolence call counts.  Nobody who already hated Trump thought anything different, and nobody who liked Trump did, either.  It didn't look as though anyone but the press would win this one.

Then came Kelly.

In the transcript and video of press conference statement, Kelly explained the story from the beginning.  In simple descriptive language, devoid of any adjectives, he calmly explained what happens when a serviceman is killed in the line of duty, from the "whatever passes for a burial shroud" at the battlefield to the long trip home to the psychologically painful process of notifying the wives and parents or next of kin, usually early, waiting for the light to come on, to the letters and phone calls of comfort.  He explained which condolence calls were comforting and which weren't.  It was the language of Hemingway, the calm unadorned content of the story told creating its own passion.

Kelly described the sequence of events and gradually allowed his own feelings to enter, first by stating that it was the condolence calls from the fallen serviceman's buddies on the battlefield that mattered most, including to him in the case of his own son's battlefield death, rather than any call from the commander in chief.  He also spoke of the esteem with which he held U.S. soldiers, the top 1%.

Then he spoke of his own feelings upon learning of Wilson's gambit to use a serviceman's death to score points off President Trump, describing the feeling of being "stunned" by the appallingness of it all.  He said his reaction was to visit the graves of slain servicemembers at Arlington Cemetery to honor the selfless.

Beyond his feelings, he asked if anything is sacred anymore.  And he marked his contempt for the opportunistic congresswoman by refusing to name her, denying her the fame she seemed to have craved as she elsewhere described the attention she was getting as that of a rock star.

Wilson even more foolishly claimed earlier that Kelly's intervention was solely a matter of Kelly trying to keep his job, viewing the entire substance of Kelly's life through a base politicized perspective of self-interest.

Kelly noted this, ever so indirectly in criticism of the congresswoman, who besides using a serviceman's death for political gain also dismissed the sacrifices of two FBI lawmen killed in the line of duty, by using the opportunity to remember them to instead crow for herself for securing the funding for a building named for them.

He probably finished her off, and finished off the press that sought to reinforce its narrative.  Twitter has been remarkably sedate generally.  The congresswoman, knowing that her stupid and, yes, callous remarks fell flat, now says she won't say another thing about the matter.

It's not often that the left loses in one of these media battles, but the leftists certainly were knocked flat by Kelly.  They underestimated Kelly, who is said to be extremely nice in person by those who know him but who has the heart of a lion out in the field – as I described in an anecdote about Kelly punching back at a group of Red Chinese airport bullies.  It's quite amazing what can be accomplished by addressing Americans directly instead of communicating only through replies to media intermediaries dead set on a narrative.

Kelly is said by those who know him to harbor presidential ambitions himself.  His press conference demonstrates just why that might happen.

Sometimes the best spokesmen aren't spokesmen.  They are the authentic participants, the genuinely knowledgeable, the people who were there.  General John Kelly, President Trump's chief of staff, was that, in the best press conference ever given from the Trump White House and probably all the others before it.

Kelly addressed the recent controversy that came after a congresswoman, Democrat Frederica Wilson of Florida, sought to make political hay by telling the press that President Trump called a slain serviceman's grieving  widow and, as Wilson listened in, callously told her that "he knew what he was getting into."  The implication was that Trump thought the serviceman deserved his death and he could not care less.  The media ran with it, using it to build up its already existing narrative of President Trump as a crude, indifferent troglodyte who could not be trusted as commander in chief.  The White House and Trump himself tried to deny it, and the brouhaha descended into a secondary battle about presidential condolence call counts.  Nobody who already hated Trump thought anything different, and nobody who liked Trump did, either.  It didn't look as though anyone but the press would win this one.

Then came Kelly.

In the transcript and video of press conference statement, Kelly explained the story from the beginning.  In simple descriptive language, devoid of any adjectives, he calmly explained what happens when a serviceman is killed in the line of duty, from the "whatever passes for a burial shroud" at the battlefield to the long trip home to the psychologically painful process of notifying the wives and parents or next of kin, usually early, waiting for the light to come on, to the letters and phone calls of comfort.  He explained which condolence calls were comforting and which weren't.  It was the language of Hemingway, the calm unadorned content of the story told creating its own passion.

Kelly described the sequence of events and gradually allowed his own feelings to enter, first by stating that it was the condolence calls from the fallen serviceman's buddies on the battlefield that mattered most, including to him in the case of his own son's battlefield death, rather than any call from the commander in chief.  He also spoke of the esteem with which he held U.S. soldiers, the top 1%.

Then he spoke of his own feelings upon learning of Wilson's gambit to use a serviceman's death to score points off President Trump, describing the feeling of being "stunned" by the appallingness of it all.  He said his reaction was to visit the graves of slain servicemembers at Arlington Cemetery to honor the selfless.

Beyond his feelings, he asked if anything is sacred anymore.  And he marked his contempt for the opportunistic congresswoman by refusing to name her, denying her the fame she seemed to have craved as she elsewhere described the attention she was getting as that of a rock star.

Wilson even more foolishly claimed earlier that Kelly's intervention was solely a matter of Kelly trying to keep his job, viewing the entire substance of Kelly's life through a base politicized perspective of self-interest.

Kelly noted this, ever so indirectly in criticism of the congresswoman, who besides using a serviceman's death for political gain also dismissed the sacrifices of two FBI lawmen killed in the line of duty, by using the opportunity to remember them to instead crow for herself for securing the funding for a building named for them.

He probably finished her off, and finished off the press that sought to reinforce its narrative.  Twitter has been remarkably sedate generally.  The congresswoman, knowing that her stupid and, yes, callous remarks fell flat, now says she won't say another thing about the matter.

It's not often that the left loses in one of these media battles, but the leftists certainly were knocked flat by Kelly.  They underestimated Kelly, who is said to be extremely nice in person by those who know him but who has the heart of a lion out in the field – as I described in an anecdote about Kelly punching back at a group of Red Chinese airport bullies.  It's quite amazing what can be accomplished by addressing Americans directly instead of communicating only through replies to media intermediaries dead set on a narrative.

Kelly is said by those who know him to harbor presidential ambitions himself.  His press conference demonstrates just why that might happen.

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