I posted a little earlier on White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s extended interview with Laura Ingraham. I pulled out one segment, that of Kelly essentially supporting a special counsel to delve into the Olympic level corruption associated with Uranium One and, potentially, with the Clinton campaign’s complicity in injecting Russian disinformation into the 2016 campaign via the Trump dossier.
The real story to come out of the interview is that John Kelly has now been selected to received the full Donald Trump treatment. This is the bottom line
John Kelly says Clinton should be investigated, calls Robert E. Lee "honorable," won't apologize to Rep. Wilsonhttps://t.co/clFC3yy9MQ
— Axios (@axios) October 31, 2017
John Kelly on the monuments controversy:
“I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man,” Kelly said. “He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”
“I think we make a mistake, though, and as a society and certainly as individuals, when we take what is today accepted as right and wrong and go back 100, 200, 300 years or more and say what those, you know, what Christopher Columbus did was wrong,” Kelly said. “You know, 500 years later, it’s inconceivable to me that you would take what we think now and apply it back then.”
Enough about John Kelly being the “adult in the room.” He’s out here praising Robert E. Lee and falsifying history. pic.twitter.com/22BXNOqSMt
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) October 31, 2017
— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) October 31, 2017
Robert E. Lee was a VICIOUS slave owner. How in the hell does make him honorable? John Kelly, you're full of crap. https://t.co/v96s2oKxYk
— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) October 31, 2017
Robert E. Lee was not an honorable man. Kelly’s statements about the Civil War show a surprising lack of knowledge of U.S. history. https://t.co/ogpHRHwx3L
— Jon Fortt (@jonfortt) October 31, 2017
This comment rules because it exposes Kelly’s casual racism AND complete ignorance about American history in ten words. Hard to do! https://t.co/0V8Ia2y5CW
— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) October 31, 2017
As Ben Domenech observes, Kelly was quoting Civil War historian Shelby Foote from the first episode of Ken Burns’s Civil War documentary, where he says the same thing.
I’m not going to re-fight the Civil War and if you want to take exception to what Kelly said, go ahead. Just don’t do it and pretend that the case is cut-and-dried. You can say the Civil War was “about slavery,” but you have to explain what that means. In the case of Robert E. Lee, Jay Cost is, based on his education, simply acting like at Twitter-troll. He has to know that at the time of the Civil War that state loyalty was a significant factor in American politics. Federalism, is, at its core, a recognition of the primacy of state government over the federal government. Lee resigned his commission, obviating any oath he’d taken to the Union, before accepting a commission from the state of Virginia at a much lower rank than he would have had in the Union army. More to the point there is no possible critique you can make of Lee that you can’t make of George Washington, save one: Washington won.
Kelly on Frederica Wilson being revealed to be an “empty barrel”:
Ingraham: Do you feel like you have something to apologize for?
Kelly: No. Never. I’ll apologize if I need to. But for something like that, absolutely not. I stand by my comments.
John Kelly is refusing to apologize to Frederica Wilson, despite grossly mischaracterizing her 2015 FBI remarks. https://t.co/ibP1Jr0s8d
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 31, 2017
John Kelly just told Fox News host he’ll never apologize to Rep. Fredericka Wilson re: his false claims about her.
— Jason K. Morrell (@CNNJason) October 31, 2017
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) October 31, 2017
A week ago, John Kelly hurled a false smear at Frederica Wilson and refused to correct another. Still no retraction. https://t.co/QqrZC8ZqE3
— Will Saletan (@saletan) October 27, 2017
The other dog whistle was tripling down on his attack of a black woman: Kelly repeating his false charges against Rep Wilson despite video.
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) October 31, 2017
Last week in my post, Apparently John Kelly Actually Believes In What He’s Doing And That Makes Him A Bad Man. In that article, it notes that Kelly is in tune with a lot of Trump’s political inclinations if not with his management style or public persona. The fact that a White House Chief of Staff would, of necessity, be a partisan figure strikes me as unsurprising as his job is to protect his boss and to push his boss’s agenda.
But now Kelly’s slide from noble truth teller and charter member of the “suicide pact” to Trump stooge. This is how Axios sees it:
Why it matters: As Peter Baker noted in a recent NY Times piece, Kelly was until recently viewed as a fairly apolitical figure. With comments like these, that’s clearly no longer the case.