By now, most people paying attention know of the attack on President Trump by Democrat Florida Representative Frederica Wilson, a card carrying member of #The Resistance. The substance of the accusation is President Trump somehow said something inappropriate to the wife of one of the Green Berets recently killed in an ambush in Niger during a condolence phone call. Wilson was listening in, unbeknownst to Mr. Trump, on the private call.
Mr. Trump has denied Wilson’s accusations. And in the interim, it has been discovered that Wilson, while pretending to be a great defender of our troops, has a long voting record against measures that would be helpful to them and to Gold Star Families, the families of service members killed in the line of duty. In this, she is very much a conventional Democrat. Of course, the media, thinking they sense blood in the water, have been absolutely berserk over this issue. Until, that is, they heard from an adult.
One of the laudable qualities of the Trump Administration the media is careful to hide or criticize is that Mr. Trump is, while combative and very much not a conventional politician, a highly accomplished adult, an adult that hires, and listens to, other serious, accomplished adults, a case in point being White House Chief of Staff, General John Kelly (USMC ret.) who took the news media to school on the 19th of October. Not only was Kelly an exemplary Marine, his is a Gold Star Family. He lost his son, also a Marine officer, in Afghanistan. I’ll not quote the entire transcript of his interaction with the shameless, hateful press, but I recommend it to you, not only in this form, but in video, as provided by Powerline. Note, gentle readers, the calm, but overwhelmingly morally powerful tone of General Kelly:
Well, thanks a lot. And it is a more serious note, so I just wanted to perhaps make more of a statement than an — give more of an explanation in what amounts to be a traditional press interaction.
Most Americans don’t know what happens when we lose one of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, our Coast Guardsmen in combat. So let me tell you what happens:
Their buddies wrap them up in whatever passes as a shroud, puts them on a helicopter as a routine, and sends them home. Their first stop along the way is when they’re packed in ice, typically at the airhead. And then they’re flown to, usually, Europe where they’re then packed in ice again and flown to Dover Air Force Base, where Dover takes care of the remains, embalms them, meticulously dresses them in their uniform with the medals that they’ve earned, the emblems of their service, and then puts them on another airplane linked up with a casualty officer escort that takes them home.
A very, very good movie to watch, if you haven’t ever seen it, is ‘Taking Chance,’ where this is done in a movie — HBO setting. Chance Phelps was killed under my command right next to me, and it’s worth seeing that if you’ve never seen it.
So that’s the process. While that’s happening, a casualty officer typically goes to the home very early in the morning and waits for the first lights to come on. And then he knocks on the door; typically a mom and dad will answer, a wife. And if there is a wife, this is happening in two different places; if the parents are divorced, three different places. And the casualty officer proceeds to break the heart of a family member and stays with that family until — well, for a long, long time, even after the internment. So that’s what happens.
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 anyone 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. But that’s all right.
Who writes letters to the families? Typically, the company commander — in my case, as a Marine — the company commander, battalion commander, regimental commander, division commander, Secretary of Defense, typically the service chief, commandant of the Marine Corps, and the President typically writes a letter.
Typically, the only phone calls a family receives are the most important phone calls they could imagine, and that is from their buddies. In my case, hours after my son was killed, his friends were calling us from Afghanistan, telling us what a great guy he was. Those are the only phone calls that really mattered.
That was surely far more information than the media wanted the public to hear, but as you’ll see as Kelly spoke, they were beginning to understand, and to whatever degree such people can feel shame, felt shame. The media hates facts, particularly when they vindicate Donald Trump and reveal the miscreants they protect for what they are:
When I took this job and talked to President Trump about how to do it, my first recommendation was he not do it because it’s not the phone call that parents, family members are looking forward to. It’s nice to do, in my opinion, in any event.
He asked me about previous Presidents, and I said, I can tell you that President Obama, who was my Commander-in-Chief when I was on active duty, did not call my family. That was not a criticism. That was just to simply say, I don’t believe President Obama called. That’s not a negative thing. I don’t believe President Bush called in all cases. I don’t believe any President, particularly when the casualty rates are very, very high — that Presidents call. But I believe they all write.
So when I gave that explanation to our President three days ago, he elected to make phone calls in the cases of four young men who we lost in Niger at the earlier part of this month. But then he said, how do you make these calls? If you’re not in the family, if you’ve never worn the uniform, if you’ve never been in combat, you can’t even imagine how to make that call. I think he very bravely does make those calls.
Kelly obliterated Wilson’s idiotic accusation:
The call in question that he made yesterday — or day before yesterday now — were to four family members, the four fallen. And remember, there’s a next-of-kin designated by the individual. If he’s married, that’s typically the spouse. If he’s not married, that’s typically the parents unless the parents are divorced, and then he selects one of them. If he didn’t get along with his parents, he’ll select a sibling. But the point is, the phone call is made to the next-of-kin only if the next-of-kin agrees to take the phone call. Sometimes they don’t.
So a pre-call is made: The President of the United States or the commandant of the Marine Corps, or someone would like to call, will you accept the call? And typically, they all accept the call.
So he called four people the other day and expressed his condolences in the best way that he could. And he said to me, what do I say? I said to him, sir, there’s nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families.
Well, let me tell you what I told him. Let me tell you what my best friend, Joe Dunford, told me — because he was my casualty officer. He said, Kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1 percent. He knew what the possibilities were because we’re at war. And when he died, in the four cases we’re talking about, Niger, and my son’s case in Afghanistan — when he died, he was surrounded by the best men on this Earth: his friends.
Because of Kelly’s status as a Gold Star Parent, and because of his voice of authority, his simple truths reduced Wilson—and the media—to ashes:
That’s what the President tried to say to four families the other day. I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning, and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing. A member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the President of the United States to a young wife, and in his way tried to express that opinion — that he’s a brave man, a fallen hero, he knew what he was getting himself into because he enlisted. There’s no reason to enlist; he enlisted. And he was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be, with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken.
That was the message. That was the message that was transmitted.
It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred. You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore as we see from recent cases. Life — the dignity of life — is sacred. That’s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well.
And then Kelly stirred the ashes and burned them again:
Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer. But I just thought — the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.
And when I listened to this woman and what she was saying, and what she was doing on TV, the only thing I could do to collect my thoughts was to go and walk among the finest men and women on this Earth. And you can always find them because they’re in Arlington National Cemetery. I went over there for an hour-and-a-half, walked among the stones, some of whom I put there because they were doing what I told them to do when they were killed.
Kelly then told of the dedication of an FBI facility he attended in 2015 while still on active duty. The building was dedicated in the names of several FBI agents killed in the line of duty, and Wilson—though Kelly did not speak her name—stood up and bragged that she was instrumental in getting the money for the building.
And she sat down, and we were stunned. Stunned that she had done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.
But, you know, none of us went to the press and criticized. None of us stood up and were appalled. We just said, O.K., fine.
So I still hope, as you write your stories, and I appeal to America, that let’s not let this maybe last thing that’s held sacred in our society — a young man, young woman going out and giving his or her life for our country — let’s try to somehow keep that sacred. But it eroded a great deal yesterday by the selfish behavior of a member of Congress.
That had to leave a mark, not that Wilson is capable of feeling shame. Wilson has since played the race card,claiming Kelly’s comparison of her to an “empty barrel” is somehow an infamous expression of racism. This is, of course, nonsense, the last refuge of a scoundrel. In this context, Kelly is merely saying Wilson makes a great deal of noise, but is without substance, an “empty [pant] suit.” His concluding remarks are the very definition of patriotism and class:
As I walk off the stage, understand there’s tens of thousands of American kids, mostly, doing their nation’s bidding all around the world. They don’t have to be in uniform. You know, when I was a kid, every man in my life was a veteran — World War II, Korea, and there was the draft. These young people today, they don’t do it for any other reason than their selfless — sense of selfless devotion to this great nation.
We don’t look down upon those of you who that haven’t served. In fact, in a way we’re a little bit sorry because you’ll have never have experienced the wonderful joy you get in your heart when you do the kinds of things our service men and women do — not for any other reason than they love this country. So just think of that.
And I do appreciate your time. Take care.
Wilson’s response [while laughing and grinning like the village idiot] was to claim: ‘John Kelly’s trying to keep his job. He will say anything.’
Questioning the sincerity of Kelly, a Gold Star parent himself, was not the way for Wilson to go. No reasonable observer of Kelly’s statement will conclude that it was insincere. No reasonable observer will conclude that he was ‘saying anything’ in an attempt ‘to keep his job.”
Who is the phony? The General who speaks with such dignity and deep emotion or the politician who wears funny hats? The answer is obvious.
In White Supremacy: Make Mine A Double, I wrote of the controversy caused by two academics who wrote an article lauding what might be called traditional values. In part, they wrote:
… That culture laid out the script we all were supposed to follow: Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime….
In Rep. Wilson, we see the opposite: the denigration of honor, decency and dedication, the exaltation of hatred, the worst kind of partisan politics and the exaltation of eternal victimhood. In General Kelly, we see the sacrifice of our service members and their families. We see the best of America.