On Thursday, White House chief of staff General John Kelly defended the sanctity of calls between the president of the United States and Gold Star families in powerful terms. That threw a wrench into the Left’s narrative that President Trump doesn’t care enough about the troops, and that Rep. Frederica Wilson’s (D-FL) claims that Trump insulted the family of Sgt. La David Johnson were eminently appropriate.
That press conference led to a bevy of hot takes: Wilson herself calling Kelly racist, Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC doing the same, Brian Fallon saying that Kelly couldn’t be trusted thanks to his loyalty to Trump.
But the worst hot take was yet to come, courtesy of The New Yorker:
Yes, Kelly’s presser was akin to what we’d see during a military coup. Here’s Masha Gessen writing:
Consider this nightmare scenario: a military coup. You don’t have to strain your imagination—all you have to do is watch Thursday’s White House press briefing, in which the chief of staff, John Kelly, defended President Trump’s phone call to a military widow, Myeshia Johnson. The press briefing could serve as a preview of what a military coup in this country would look like. …
Oh, really? A White House chief of staff talking from a podium about things looks just like a military coup? How so? you might ask. Well, Masha Gessen has four answers for you.
First, she says, Kelly made the faulty assumption that “Those who criticize the President don’t know what they’re talking about because they haven’t served in the military.” Except that Kelly didn’t say that at all. He said that those who criticize presidential calls to Gold Star families don’t know what they’re talking about because they haven’t been either presidents or members of Gold Star families, and that politicizing such conversations dirties the sanctity of such conversations.
Second, Gessen argues, Kelly said that “The President did the right thing because he did exactly what his general told him to do.” Again, no. Kelly argued that Trump’s words were not inappropriate in a military context, and he should know, as a member of the military and a Gold Star father.
Third, Gessen writes, “Communication between the President and a military widow is no one’s business but theirs.” Well, yes. If the family chooses to make it an issue, the family can, but only the family — not a Congresswoman listening in on the call. Kelly didn’t rip Sgt. La David Johnson’s aunt. He only ripped Wilson.
Finally, Gessen avers, “Citizens are ranked based on their proximity to dying for their country.” Again, no. Kelly only called on reporters who knew someone with a connection to a fallen soldier because he wanted to make the point that experience with such situations gives you elevated status in reporting those situations.
What does any of this have to do with a military coup?
Nothing. Kelly didn’t implement policy. He didn’t quash dissent. He didn’t ignore constitutional procedure. In fact, he didn’t do anything but talk about the honor of the men and women in the military and the respect we should all have for their service.
But when a Gold Star father works for President Trump, apparently attacking that Gold Star father is just fine.