I am not one of those who think that Gen Kelly is some sort of a savior. I know that he had a terrible record at DHS. I know he enabled Trump’s lie about 3 million illegal voters. I know that he “joked” about using a ceremonial sword on the media. I thought he was probably more like Trump than most thought. I have seen this, and know who this man basically is.
But still. I didn’t expect that he was such an aggressive racist, a vicious woman hater, a bigot who was either proud of his bigotry or so ensconsed in it that he doesn’t even understand how his words would sound. I listened to Gen. Kelly’s defense of Trump yesterday. I have to be honest: I haven’t been this upset since we were lied into the Iraq War. There are many reasons for this, and many layers.
First is that Trump didn’t ever know Sgt. Johnson’s name. This was obvious, even the day after he was called on for his horrendous phone call to Mrs. Johnson. He still didn’t mention Johnson’s name, or Mrs. Johnson’s name. That seems to be OK with Kelly.
Then Trump went and attacked a US Congresswoman. Typical Trump. We expect this from the sociopath. And it barely registers anymore, which is upsetting. But then Kelly came in.
When John Kelly, ex-General of the USMC, got up and viciously, forcefully, almost gleefully ripped apart a member of the US Congress, a dear friend of a dead soldier, a mentor, a woman, a black woman, I wanted to throw up. I am still somewhat nauseous. The hatred and vitriol in his voice, calling her an “empty barrel,” (which Lawrence O’Donnell has noted is racist) then calling her “this woman” and refusing to use her name, further dehumanizing her. Lying that she was somehow “spying” on the phone call. Lying about her involvement with a building she was instrumental in naming. Saying she came out back then in “her all that” or something close (I can’t find the quote right now) which I took as his mocking the way she dresses, as though he is the arbiter of women’s dress.
He was “stunned” that Congresswoman Wilson was listening in. Let’s put aside the fact that a 4 star General was stunned at such a normal thing and what that tells us about his experiences in life. Let’s focus on the fact that it is the widow’s choice who to have with her. The mother’s choice. And they chose Congresswoman Wilson. Then he implied that the family just didn’t understand what Trump said, as if the fault lie with the poor, dumb (black) widow, and not the POTUS, who should know better.
There was more that made me sick.
Women used to be “sacred.” Notwithstanding who Kelly works for, and what he has said and done to women, this was proudly and arrogantly stated by Kelly, as though this is something lost. Sacred? Like we should be put up on a pedestal, fragile little flowers, protected by the big strong white men, who kept us out of colleges, out of management positions, at home, pregnant, barefoot. He is such an old white sexist he didn’t even understand how offensive this was. (and I’m older, so I am not being ageist about him.)
Not allowing anyone to ask any questions except those who are Gold Star families or friends. Clearly implying that those in service are superior to those who aren’t. Gold Star families ARE sacred. Except, in Kelly’s view, those who question Trump: Mrs. Johnson. The Khan family. Speaking of the Khan family…
Kelly said that Gold Star families were sacred until the convention last year. The bootlicking media is trying to spin this as though he was talking about Trump taking on the Khan family. I had a different read on it. I felt he meant that the Khan family politicized their son’s death, and they were at fault. Oh, and they are also people of color. Like the Johnsons. So at fault. Coincidence? Not likely.
So many offensive aspects to that screed yesterday. So much to unpack. And then the media reaction. The bootlicking. The discussion of how dignified he was. How “presidential.” As thought white supremacy, bigotry, sexism are desirable traits. The media have fed into this belief that Kelly is somehow this Savior of our Republic. The White Knight — literally White. The brave man who will wrestle Trump to the ground when he tries to burn down the universe. They covered for Kelly, they made him out to be somehow explaining Trump to us in a compassionate and clear way.
No. This man, this General, this vile racist and sexist, got up there, used his own son’s death to shame any opponents of Trump, used his supposed reputation to tear apart a sitting US Congresswoman in a vicious, very aggressive way, a Congresswoman who was just helping her friends and who spoke up for the widow. He used his service to belittle anyone who didn’t serve or doesn’t agree with his vile, sociopathic boss.
I feel helpless. Powerless. I feel that we can’t put Humpty Dumpty back again. That we have no voice, that we are being held hostage by a bully who wants to beat our family members and sexually assault our daughters. Who is enabled by white Generals, and a media in love with the stars on those Generals’ shoulders. I am scared. I am nauseous. I am beside myself.