Press: Kelly sells his soul

Press: Kelly sells his soul
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It happens so often we should be used to it by now. We build people up. We discover a new hero. We think he or she is the perfect public servant. We fall in love again. And then we find out they’re not so special, after all. They’ve got clay feet, just like the rest of them.

Still, it was a shock to see Gen. John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE fall from grace. At first blush, it seemed that President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren unveils Native American policy plan Live-action 'Mulan' star spurs calls for boycott with support of Hong Kong police Don't let other countries unfairly tax America's most innovative companies MORE’s new chief of staff wasn’t a political hack, like his predecessor Reince Priebus. He wasn’t a right-wing extremist like Stephen Bannon, a sycophant like Kellyanne Conway, or a clown like Sean Spicer.

Kelly was different. He was a level-headed, calming influence who operated above the political fray. Or so we thought. Now we know Kelly’s a political puppet for Trump, just like all the rest of them.


Appearing before reporters on Oct. 19, Kelly said it was “stunning” to see a member of Congress politicize the loss of four American soldiers in Niger. No, what was stunning was seeing a four-star general prostitute himself before the White House press corps.


Gen. Kelly got it wrong and he knows it. It wasn’t Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonAssault weapons ban picks up steam in Congress Democratic rep reconsiders wearing trademark hats because of 'racists who taunt me' Overnight Defense: US shoots down Iranian drone | Pentagon sending 500 more troops to Saudi Arabia | Trump mulls Turkey sanctions | Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract MORE (D-Fla.) who “politicized” the death of four American servicemen, as Kelly claimed. It was Trump himself, who, after remaining silent about their loss for 12 days, falsely accused former presidents of never calling families of the fallen. And then accused Wilson of lying about his call to Myeshia Johnson, the widow of slain Sgt. La David Johnson.

It wasn’t Wilson, as Kelly charged, who violated protocol by listening in on a private call from the president to Johnson’s widow. As a longtime family friend, she and others in the car could not help but overhear Trump’s call. It was on speakerphone. Her version of Trump’s cold-hearted comment — that “your guy knew what he was signing up for” — was confirmed by Johnson’s mother, also in the car.

Nor was it true, as Kelly further charged, that Wilson bragged about securing funding for a new FBI building in Miami. She wasn’t even in Congress when funding was secured. And at its opening in 2015, she spent most of her speech praising two FBI officers for whom the building is dedicated.

For Kelly, this was the second time in a week he agreed to fall on his sword for Trump. On Oct. 12, only a week earlier, he came into the briefing room to deny he was being fired or had any plans to quit. Both times, you know Donald Trump was watching from the Oval Office, hanging on Kelly’s every word, and muttering “Good boy, good boy.”

No doubt, on both occasions, Kelly, like a good military man, was only following orders of his commander in chief. But even, and especially, a four-star general is expected always to tell the truth.

How sad. In July, John Kelly started out as chief of staff with a ton of credibility. Today, just three months later, he has none left.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down.”