As John Kelly Con­fronts the Politi­ciza­tion of a Soldier's Death

The Jewish Voice - - OP-ED - By: Matthew Vadum

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly pushed back against a sleazy left-wing con­gress­woman who is try­ing to ex­ploit a young soldier’s combat death in West Africa to score cheap po­lit­i­cal points against Pres­i­dent Trump.

“I was stunned when I came to work yes­ter­day morn­ing, and bro­ken-hearted at what I saw a mem­ber of Congress do­ing,” said Kelly, a re­tired Marine Corps gen­eral whose son was killed on the bat­tle­fiel .

Without nam­ing pub­lic­ity-hun­gry Rep. Fred­er­ica Wil­son (D), Florida’s fl mboy­ant an­swer to Max­ine Waters, Kelly re­ferred to “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.”

Wil­son claimed Trump was in­sult­ing the widow and triv­i­al­iz­ing her hus­band’s death.

But Trump was try­ing to honor the fallen soldier, Kelly said re­count­ing how he learned of his own son’s death. Kelly said he coun­seled Pres­i­dent Trump, by say­ing:

I said to him, “Sir, there’s noth­ing you can do to lighten the burden on these fam­i­lies. Let me tell you what I tell them, let me tell you what my best friend Joe Dun­ford told me, be­cause he was my ca­su­alty offic ,” 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.’ Th t’s what the pres­i­dent tried to say to four fam­i­lies the other day.

The po­lit­i­cal de­bate in the last few days is ev­i­dence of the coars­en­ing of the na­tion’s cul­ture, Kelly opined.

“When I was a kid grow­ing up a lot of things were sa­cred in our coun­try,” Kelly said.

Women were sa­cred and looked upon with great honor. That’s ob­vi­ously not the case any­more as we’ve seen from re­cent cases. Life, the dig­nity of life, was sa­cred. Th t’s gone. Re­li­gion. Th t seems to be gone as well.

“Gold Star fam­i­lies, I think that left in the con­ven­tion over the sum­mer,” he said, pos­si­bly an al­lu­sion to Khizr and Ghaz­ala Khan, the pro-Is­lamist Gold Star par­ents who railed against Trump at the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion last year. Kelly continued:

When I lis­tened to this woman [i.e. Wil­son] 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 fin them. Be­cause they’re in Ar­ling­ton Na­tional Ceme­tery. 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.

But the Left views ev­ery­thing as po­lit­i­cal. Combat deaths are no ex­cep­tion. Man­gled Amer­i­can bod­ies are used as pro­pa­ganda against Repub­li­cans. It’s so com­mon­place it’s al­most a cliché nowa­days.

Sens­ing an op­por­tu­nity to in­vent a new Gold Star family-re­lated con­tro­versy to smear Pres­i­dent Trump as un­feel­ing, Rep. Wil­son seized on the combat death ear­lier this month of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Ter­rence John­son, 25, a dec­o­rated Green Beret from South Florida.

Wil­son com­plained that in a con­do­lence call to John­son’s widow, the pres­i­dent had praised John­son for his sol­dierly sense of duty and for risk­ing his life for his coun­try. The law­maker, who was ap­par­ently rid­ing in a limou­sine at the time with Mrs. John­son, said Trump told the widow her hus­band knew what he was get­ting into when he en­listed.

“He signed up for his own death? Th t is so in­sen­si­tive,” Wil­son said.

That is one par­tic­u­larly un­char­i­ta­ble, id­i­otic way of spin­ning the pres­i­dent’s ob­jec­tively true state­ment. All ser­vice mem­bers know they could make the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice when they sign up for the mil­i­tary.

But when Trump says it, sud­denly it’s out­ra­geous.

This is part of the Left’s on­go­ing ef­fort to stig­ma­tize Don­ald Trump and dele­git­imize his pres­i­dency. When Trump does the same things pre­vi­ous pres­i­dents have done, he is de­picted as do­ing them in­cor­rectly, in­com­pe­tently, buf­foon­ishly, or even ma­li­ciously. Nor­mal, ev­ery­day things Trump does in his role as the na­tion’s Chief Ex­ec­u­tive are dis­torted and pre­sented as na­tional crises. This is what the Left is try­ing to make the new nor­mal in Amer­ica.

“Go­ing back to the dawn of this ad­min­is­tra­tion, the Left wants to de­nor­mal­ize and de­hu­man­ize … its po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion and they do that in a va­ri­ety of ways,” com­men­ta­tor Mark Steyn told Tucker Carlson this sum­mer af­ter the at­tempted as­sas­si­na­tion of House Ma­jor­ity Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).

“Once you do that,” Steyn said, “you’re ba­si­cally say­ing that there’s no form of civ­i­lized po­lit­i­cal dis­course with your op­po­nent.”

Steyn noted the ri­ots that break out on col­lege cam­puses nowa­days when­ever a con­ser­va­tive is asked to speak, adding, for ex­am­ple, that those who op­pose Oba­macare are ac­cused of want­ing “grannies and urchins to die.”

Carlson agreed, say­ing “you’re not de­bat­ing some­one who dis­agrees with you, you’re de­bat­ing some­one who is im­moral.” Thi is a case of “the faith­ful ver­sus the in­fide ,” he added. “There’s al­most a reli­gious qual­ity in the way they ap­proach pol­i­tics.”

Wil­son, who has a his­tory of ly­ing to gain po­lit­i­cal ad­van­tage, bragged about the fame Trump-bash­ing and lever­ag­ing John­son’s death for per­sonal gain has brought her.

“You mean to tell me that I have be­come so im­por­tant? Th t the White House is fol­low­ing me and my words? This is amaz­ing. That’s amaz­ing. That is ab­so­lutely phe­nom­e­nal. I’ll have to tell my kids that I’m a rock star now,” Wil­son told re­porters as she chuck­led.

“The dog can bark at the moon all night long but it doesn’t be­come an is­sue un­til the moon bites back.”

Sgt. John­son is also sur­vived by two chil­dren, whose names were tat­tooed on his chest. A third child is ex­pected in Jan­uary. In so­cial me­dia, John­son re­ferred to him­self as just “a dude who loves to ride bikes!” His widow told re­porters, “For him not to be with us any­more is just heart­break­ing and dev­as­tat­ing be­cause I don’t know what I’m gonna do without him. He was

ev­ery­thing to us.”

Th ee other U.S. sol­diers per­ished in the ter­ror­ist at­tack. They were Staff Sgts. Bryan C. Black, Jeremiah W. John­son, and Dustin M. Wright.

The four men were killed in Tongo Tongo, Niger, in an am­bush Oc­to­ber 4 af­ter a meet­ing with tribal of­fici s near the coun­try’s bor­der with Mali.

There are re­port­edly around 800 U.S. troops in Niger. The at­tack was re­port­edly car­ried out by armed mil­i­tants thought to be af­fil­i­ated with Is­lamic State. Five Nige­rien sol­diers were also re­port­edly killed in the at­tack.

The “ad­vise and as­sist” mis­sion to aid lo­cal forces in West Africa fi ht­ing Boko Haram, Is­lamic State, and al-Qaida in the Maghreb, was or­dered by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. U.S. troops are work­ing to dis­rupt en­emy sup­ply lines.

As a post script to this story, it should be noted that Wil­son made a fool of her­self on Twit­ter, in­dig­nantly crit­i­ciz­ing Trump for sup­pos­edly dis­re­spect­ing John­son’s widow by not us­ing her name.

“I still stand by my ac­count of the call [be­tween Pres­i­dent Trump] and Mye­sha John­son,” the law­maker tweeted. “That is her name, Mr. Trump. Not ‘the woman’ or ‘the wife.’”

Ex­cept Wil­son got Mrs. John­son’s name wrong. It is Myeshia John­son.

Which tells you just about all you need to know about Con­gress­woman Fred­er­ica Wil­son.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly pushed back against a sleazy left-wing con­gress­woman who is try­ing to ex­ploit a young soldier’s combat death in West Africa to score cheap po­lit­i­cal points against Pres­i­dent Trump.

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