White House Chief of Staff John Kelly made some extraordinary remarks during Thursday’s White House briefing. They were extraordinary not only because Kelly seldom speaks on the record to the press and was doing so for the second time in a week, but also for the deeply personal nature of what he said—discussing the death of his son in combat, a topic he has in the past been careful to avoid. Yet Kelly’s defense of President Trump, embroiled in a self-inflicted crisis over his condolences for the families of fallen servicemembers, also contained the grain of a strong rebuke to the president.
Kelly began with a description of what happens when a soldier, sailor, marine, or airman or -woman is killed in battle. Then he said:
Who are these young men and women? They are the best 1 percent this country produces. Most of you as Americans don’t know them. Many of you don’t know any who knows any one of them. But they are the very best this country produces and they volunteer to protect our country when there’s nothing in our country anymore that seems to suggest that selfless service to the nation is not only appropriate but required.
Kelly’s point is correct—as my colleague James Fallows wrote in 2015, the military is increasingly cut off from the mainstream of American culture, with terrible consequences for both. (It is a critique that sweeps in the president, who assiduously avoided serving in Vietnam.)
On Wednesday, Representative Frederica Wilson said that in a call to the family of Sergeant La David Johnson, who died in Niger earlier this month, Trump had told Johnson’s widow, “He knew what he was getting into when he signed up.” Trump denied ever saying that, but as I wrote on Wednesday, it seemed possible that …read more
Source:: The Atlantic – Politics