Kelly blasted Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson for listening in on the call, which was made
|John Kelly, Chief of Staff|
I don't fault Rep. Wilson, a long time family friend, for listening in on the phone call as she no doubt was asked to do so by family members. Hence the use of the speaker. I do, however, agree with Kelly that Rep. Wilson no doubt politicized the phone call, using it to take a shot at the President.
However, the reason Wilson was in that position to attack the President on the issue is 100% the fault of the President. Trump is well-known for having attacking Gold Star parents, the Khans, after the Democratic convention. He has also demonstrated a marked inability to empathize with people suffering through difficult circumstances. In that regard, witness Trump's callous attitude toward Puerto Ricans following the hurricane that hit that island a month ago.
General Kelly approaches the issue with enormous credibility. In addition to having to make tough phone calls to family members of those killed in action, Kelly lost his own son in combat. Thus, he is a Gold Star parent himself. During the press statement, Kelly suggests that Trump's supposed uncaring attitude toward the Johnson family might have been simply a misunderstanding, the product of inartful communication by an inarticulate President. Given Trump's only passing familiarity with the English language, Kelly's suggestion that there was simply miscommunication is quite believable.
The problem is that President Trump was the one who first politicized the issue. When asked at a press conference about the four soldiers killed in Africa, a fact Trump never had addressed publicly or privately, the President responded defensively and inaccurately, claiming that his predecessors often did not call or write the families of fallen soldiers. Thus, Trump politicized the matter long before Rep. Frederica Wilson appeared on the scene.
Trump supporters argue that that the President should be given the benefit of the doubt regarding the words uttered during these difficult Gold Star family phone calls. Because the media refuses to do that, Trump supporters point to that as yet more example of media bias against this particular President.
Balderdash. The reason Donald Trump isn't given the benefit of doubt, why the media is skeptical of his version of what happened during the Johnson call is not believed, is because the President has spent the first eight months of his Presidency telling one lie after another. Trump is like the shepherd boy in "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." In that story, the boy falsely claimed wolves were present so many times that villagers did not believe him when a wolf actually did arrive to attack his sheep. That legendary Aesop fable ends with the line uttered by a villager to the boy: "Nobody believes a liar...even when he is telling the truth."
That is a lesson that the President should try to learn.