John Kelly is a burning cross that's been shielded from criticism, largely because he's a walking episode of G.I. Joe.
Let the Trump administration's head propagandist, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, tell it, it's "highly inappropriate" to question Kelly because of his military service. However, it matters not what that hot air balloon of lies believes because Kelly is in a civil role, and thus, not prohibited from criticism. That's a good thing because it ought to be made widely known that Kelly is a lying ass liar for what he said about Congresswoman Frederick Wilson. Now we can add to the list of complaints the fact that he's a U.S. history failure.
In an interview with "Sieg Heil" signaling blowhard Laura Ingraham, Kelly was asked about whether or not he would apologize to Wilson. "Absolutely not" was his answer. Kelly then went on to discuss questions related to confederate statues. “I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man,” Kelly explained to Ingraham. “He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country.”
Spoiler: Robert E. Lee was a traitor, a racist, and not even that great of a general.
Kelly then went on to discuss the Civil War. In his mind, the "lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War." Kelly went on to argue, that “men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”
If you fought on the side of slavery, you have no conscience. Moreover, considering the target demo of this site is considered three-fifths of a person, it's hard to not fall out from laughter at the idea that an unwillingness to compromise is what led to the Civil War. Our entire race was dehumanized in the name of compromise, but a White man who grew up in the racial metropolis known as Boston can't see that. Speaking of seeing things, this is exactly what Lawrence O'Donnell, another White man from Boston but isn't a racist, meant about Kelly in a recent segment of his MSNBC show The Last Word.
Unsurprisingly, Kelly's comments unleashed a wave of criticism for being who played closer attention to U.S. history, or at the very least, decided to investigate the history of the Civil War outside of the textbooks found in the public school system of a nation drowning in white supremacist sympathizing.
Cedric Richmond, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus said:
“John Kelly needs a history lesson. The Civil War was not a disagreement between ‘men and women of good faith on both sides.’ It was a struggle for the soul of this country. Thankfully, the right side won the war and slavery is no longer the law of the land.”
Sen. Tim Scott, the lone Black Republican in the Senate, said:
“We need to stop relitigating and referencing the Civil War as if there was some moral conundrum. There was no compromise to make — only a choice between continuing slavery and ending it. We need to move forward together, instead of letting the divisions of the past continue to force us apart.”
Others, including Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jelani Cobb, William Barber, and even Trevor Noah have offered Kelly a much needed history lesson. Coates, who described Kelly's ahistorical account of the Civil War as "creationist theorizing," said via Twitter, “Shocking that someone charged with defending their country, in some profound way, does not comprehend the country they claim to defend.”
I would be shocked if the current commander-in-chief weren't a person who has likely never read the U.S. constitution and gets his daily intelligence briefs from Fox & Friends. And once you factor in characters like Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson, and Steve Bannon, well, if you told me Kelly didn't finish the eighth grade, I'd tell you that sounds about right.
There are some conservatives who take issue what Kelly's remarks.
Commentary's Noah Rothman writes:
Either by choice or direction, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has made himself a figure of both cultural and political relevance in a way that most of his predecessors in that role did not. Kelly has not taken James Baker’s advice, which was for chiefs of staff to consider themselves more “staff” than “chief.” Until now, Kelly’s decision to dive into the political maelstrom has been constructive. His unvarnished opinions on patriotism and traditionalism are clarifying because they articulate a worldview that is neither shared nor appreciated by Donald Trump’s critics. Kelly’s penchant for pontification has also revealed some less palatable views. Unfortunately, those opinions appear to be shared by Trump’s core supporters and perhaps even the president himself.
For months now, we've been sold on the novel idea that John Kelly is the "adult" in the White House. That he, a celebrated general, decided to take on the role as White House Chief of Staff largely because this inexperienced and erratic administration needed structure and discipline so by lending his services, Kelly was doing this more so for country than anything. There's always been reason to question this narrative because in order to work for a buffoonish bigot and his merry band of white supremacists, it requires more than just a willingness to stomach their various prejudices. Those very prejudices have been as visible as ever under his watch.
John Kelly was there for President Trump's despicable comments after Charlottesville. John Kelly has been there for the revised travel ban targeting Muslims and has been present for the proposed ban on transgender troops. Now, John Kelly, like Trump, has displayed a disdain for Black women and an appetite to appease a core base of supporters whose only true concern is whiteness and the preservation of a racist hierarchy.
John Kelly is one of them. Whether or not the mainstream media will make it clearer is uncertain, but we all know. John Kelly wants us to know it, too.