“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
General John Francis Kelly, the current White House Chief of Staff for U.S. President Donald Trump, and former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security in the same administration may do well to heed businessman and entrepreneur extraordinaire Warren Buffet’s words.
It is one thing when one’s boss suffers from foot-in-mouth disease, but when his or her underling chimes in, it spells trouble.
Now, President Trump, in his attempt to console Myeshia Johnson, the widow of fallen soldier Sgt. La David Johnson, he is reported to have told her “he [Jonson] knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt.”
The President stoutly denied making the statement after it was brought to the public’s attention by Democrat Congresswoman Frederica Wilson.
“Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!” Trump tweeted.
However, the soldier’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, reportedly said she was in the car during the President’s call and confirmed that “the statement is true.”
That said, Kelly was not prepared to see his boss take a hit on the matter by the news media, so he rushed in not only to defend the President but also sought to soil the reputation and integrity of Congresswoman Wilson.
He criticized Wilson for listening to the call to Johnson’s family. In addition to describing Wilson as an “empty barrel,” he said she had violated a sacred trust by sharing details of the president’s sympathy call—one that Kelly, who lost his own son in battle, also admitted he told the president not to make.
He also excoriated Rep. Frederica Wilson for bragging in 2015 about securing the federal aid to build an FBI field office in South Florida.
However, evidence from a videotape of the event proved that Kelly lied in his recall of the event.
The fact is everyone can agree that the public discourse since President Trump has assumed office left much to be desired.
However, more importantly, when people in officialdom begin to lie and deceive the public, it leads to distrust, corruption, and the breakdown of law and order.
Yes, General Kelly may be weary and frustrated with the disgusting state of our civil discourse, but why add to it?
Did he forget that it was Trump who callously attacked a Gold-Star family – the Khans – during the summer political conventions of 2016? Did he forget that it was Trump who viciously insulted a war hero – Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) – when he said that he likes heroes who weren’t captured?
Did Gen. Kelly forget that it was his boss who was caught on tape bragging about committing sexual assault and attacking any woman he wanted by grabbing her by the genitals? Did he forget that it was his boss – and later Kelly himself as the secretary of Homeland Security – that disrespected a whole religion by trying to implement the Muslim ban?
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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