The White House says John Kelly was 'totally unequipped to handle the genius' of Trump in a totally real statement

Opinion
On March 22nd 2017, then-DHS Secretary John F. Kelly visited ICE HQ to meet with ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan and ICE Senior Leadership. After those two meetings he held a Town Hall with ICE Employees, he also took questions when he was done talking. (DHS)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Is it just me or does this statement from the White House rebuking retired Marine Gen. John Kelly sound like a piece of North Korean propaganda?


Speaking at a Washington Examiner political conference on Friday, Kelly claimed that, before he left his position as White House chief of staff last year, he had warned President Donald Trump of the possibility of impeachment if he hired a "yes man" to replace him.

"I said, whatever you do — and we were still in the process of trying to find someone to take my place — I said whatever you do, don't hire a 'yes man,' someone who won't tell you the truth — don't do that," Kelly recalled. "Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached."

"That was almost 11 months ago, and I have an awful lot of, to say the least, second thoughts about leaving," he added. "It pains me to see what's going on because I believe if I was still there or someone like me was there, he would not be kind of, all over the place."

Kelly's comments are fairly unsurprising. Like his fellow Marine and self-appointed babysitter James Mattis, who's currently promoting a book to burnish his reputation as a voice of sanity within the Trump administration, Kelly's push to cast himself in the same light is somewhat predictable.

But what is surprising is the response that White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham offered to the New York Times: "I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great president."

Um, what?

The "totally unequipped to handle the genius" on its own is amusing in the context of both Trump's fickle passion for His Generals and the president's frequent description of himself as "a very stable genius," sure.

But any humor in this outrageous statement dries up when the eye lands on "our great president."Not because Trump isn't a great president; after all, he did promise to Make America Great Again, right?

No, it's the weird hagiography from the White House press office reminiscent of the "glorious leader" tropes tossed around in North Korea. I mean, one of Kim Jong Un's official titles is "Glorious General, Who Descended From Heaven." The similarity is hard to miss.

And while we'd certainly expect the commander-in-chief to speak without such civic modesty, the statement appears to be a major overcorrection by Trump's staff: the White House also issued a separate statement under Trump's name that's somehow more subdued than what his own press secretary offered.

"John Kelly never said that, he never said anything like that," Trump said on Kelly's advice. "If he would have said that, I would have thrown him out of the office. He just wants to come back into the action like everybody else does."

Well, maybe not: Back in May, Kelly joined the board of directors of Caliburn International, the parent company of Comprehensive Health Services, whose own subsidiary operates the United States' largest facility for unaccompanied migrant children. So there's that I guess.

The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.

"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.

Read More Show Less

WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."

"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.

"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vaughan Dill/Released)

The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.

Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.

Read More Show Less

The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.

We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.

Read More Show Less

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.

Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."

"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"

Read More Show Less