McCain Offers to Teach John Kelly What ‘Disrespecting Vets Looks Like’ Using His Boss’s Words

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This morning, Senator John McCain sent a message to White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly. McCain’s message contained an offer for the Vietnam War vet to teach Kelly, who also served in the Marines during the Vietnam War, “what disrespecting vets looks like.” Senator McCain was referring to Kelly’s defense of his boss, President Donald Trump for how he handled a call of condolence to the widow of one of the soldiers lost in a deadly ambush on U.S. forces in Niger last week.

Yesterday, during a press briefing at the White House, Kelly gave a somber but forceful defense of Trump’s comments to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was one of the fallen soldiers. Kelly spoke for several minutes and went into great detail about how a soldier’s remains are processed and returned home when they die in the field. While lamenting the politicization of fallen soldiers, Kelly made sure to make great political theater out of fallen soldiers.

In the call to Sgt. Johnson’s widow, who is currently pregnant, Trump reportedly said that Johnson “knew what he was signing up for,” and didn’t mention Johnson by name. Rep. Frederica Wilson was with Johnson’s widow because she is a close personal friend of the Johnson family and even was one of La David’s mentors growing up; she recounted the details of the phone call from Mrs. Johnson’s end, which enraged Trump and brought out heavy condemnation from Gen. Kelly during the press briefing.


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Senator McCain’s message acknowledges Kelly’s concerns that Gold Star families have become political pawns, and that politicizing U.S. casualties has now begun to become normalized in American politics. However, McCain’s message also contains an offer show Kelly what the Arizona Republican believes is “far more insulting to the men and women who serve our country’s military.”

“General Kelly,” McCain writes to the Chief of Staff, “It has come to my attention, thanks to your performance in yesterday’s press briefing, that you have a pretty interesting idea of what may or may not be insulting to the families of fallen soldiers. As a father who lost his Gold Star son in war, I would think that you’d have a less partisan and more human approach than what you did yesterday, which was to slander a sitting congresswoman with a made-up story about some other incident and a bellicose, overly detailed explanation of what happens to the body of a fallen soldier.”

McCain writes that while it may have been “unfortunate and problemating” that Rep. Wilson heard the president’s words, the fact is she was there as a guest of Sgt. Johnson’s widow. McCain also told Kelly he was “sadly trying to distract the country from Trump’s own Benghazi” and that “the President of the United States should have more tact than a drunken frat boy.”


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“General Kelly, while I have no doubt you’re a man of integrity,” McCain wrote, “I think you’re a man who is desperately in need of some perspective. It’s hard for me to take you seriously when you defend a man like the president on the grounds that Rep. Wilson was disrespectful to veterans when you work for a man who is routinely disrespectful of everyone, veterans included. Or did you forget the time your boss said I wasn’t a war hero because I was captured, General?”

Senator McCain offered to show Kelly “numerous and myriad examples of Trump’s pluperfect pissantry to veterans, and even those who have lost loved ones.”

“You should ask the Khan family how Trump treats the families of Gold Star soldiers lost in combat,” McCain wrote to Kelly, “because then you might not look quite so foolish carrying this orange man’s water, Gunga Din. This man you work for insults everyone and everything he feels has even remotely slighted him. If you think you’re standing on a skyscraper of morality looking down on the rest of us, you’re definitely high, but you’re not on high ground, John.”

General Kelly was not reached for comment.