The New Yorker:
The reports of John Kelly’s handling of the case of the now former White House staff secretary Rob Porter raise a question: What does Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff, see when he looks at the people around him? In April, 2015, Kelly, who was then serving as a four-star Marine general, attended the dedication of a new F.B.I. building, in Miramar, Florida. It was named for two agents, Benjamin Grogan and Jerry Dove, who had been shot dead as they tried to apprehend a pair of bank robbers and armored-truck hijackers who, over a period of months, had killed a number of other people. Kelly sat and watched as a local Democratic congresswoman, Frederica Wilson, paid tribute to the agents—she spoke about how Grogan was near retirement, and Dove, who was younger, had dreams of attending law school—and to all law-enforcement officers. She quoted another agent, who was also caught in the shoot-out, as saying afterward that he was certain that he was going to die, too, “But I was going to do my very best to make sure those suspects did not get away.” She asked all officers present to rise and be recognized. “Stand up now, so that we can applaud you, and what you do,” she said. “We are proud of you! We’re proud of your courage.” The F.B.I., she said, stood for “Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity.” She closed, “God bless the F.B.I., and God bless America.”
Kelly, recalling the moment last fall, just two and a half years after the ceremony, said that as Wilson spoke he had grown angrier and angrier, until, when she finished, he was “stunned—stunned that she’d done it. Even for someone who was that empty a barrel we were stunned.” The reasons for his rage are perhaps best known to himself. He said that Wilson had done nothing more than get up, crassly brag about getting the money for the building, and sit down; that is false, in all respects. (The Sun-Sentinel had the video to prove it.) His vision of that moment was disturbingly disconnected from the reality of what happened in 2015. But it was clearly connected to the circumstances of 2017: Wilson had criticized Trump for his handling of a call with a military widow, Myeshia Johnson. And Wilson’s assertiveness or, rather, truth telling in that matter seems to have stunned Kelly, too.
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