John Kelly works for a guy who seems genetically incapable of speaking with moral certitude and clarity.
When the president speaks about slain soldiers “knowing what they were getting into … but I guess it still hurts,” he comes off sounding like a heartless buffoon.
When the White House chief of staff offers the same explanation over what his “best friend” told him after his son was killed in Afghanistan, he sounds dignified, heartfelt and sincere.
Donald J. Trump has opened the door yet again to a pointless and needless controversy. This time it centers on how the president sought to console a grieving widow whose husband died in a firefight in Niger several days ago.
The president might have been motivated to do the right thing. Perhaps he intended to sound compassionate. My reading of what’s been reported about what he told Myeshia Johnson, whose husband Sgt. La David Johnson, died in Niger, tells me the president just isn’t good at fulfilling that role.
And yet, Gen. Kelly manages to sound the right tone, despite his criticism of Rep. Frederica Wilson, who reported the content of the president’s phone conversation with Mrs. Johnson.
Wouldn’t you know it …
There’s no record of a conversation that Donald Trump had with the widow of a soldier killed in action in Niger. Another party to the conversation, a Florida congresswoman, has accused the president of being insensitive while talking to the wife of the fallen soldier.
It’s become a classic he said/she said standoff.
Who’s lying here?
In one corner we have the president, Donald John Trump Sr., a man known to fib, lie, prevaricate at a moment’s notice. He blurts things out without attribution, documentation or evidence.
In the other corner we have U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., who contends she was in on the phone call between Trump and Myeshia Johnson, the wife of slain soldier Sgt. David Johnson. Trump reportedly said that Sgt. Johnson, one of four Special Forces soldiers ambushed by terrorists in Niger, “knew what he signed up for … but it still hurts.”
But you see, there’s no record of the conversation. We’re left with the words of two individuals — president and the congresswoman — with apparently little regard for each other.
We haven’t yet heard from Myeshia Johnson, who could clear this matter up with corroboration for either Trump or Wilson.
Short of that: polygraphs anyone?