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 battlefield.
Without naming publicity-hungry Rep. Frederica Wilson (D), Florida’s flamboyant 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 officer,” 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.’ That’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. That’s gone. Religion. That 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.
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 find 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? That 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.” This is a case of “the faithful versus the infidel,” 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? That 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.”
Three 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 officials 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 fighting 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.