Trump Vs. A Media “Rock Star”
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
It seems as though our nation’s left-leaning mass media will find grist for their anti-Trump crusade no matter what the President or his top aides say or do. If the President assured someone that the sun would rise in the East tomorrow morning, some media star would cite the ravings of a confirmed anti-Trump crusader insisting Donald Trump has no love for the West.
Four American soldiers were recently slain in Africa’s Niger. While performing their mission to train local military personnel, they were ambushed and never had a chance. Most likely, they were targeted because they were Americans.
President Trump sought advice about what to say in the calls he would make to the members of the grieving families. He turned to someone who knew from first-hand experience how to handle such a tragic responsibility: Retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, his Chief of Staff. A few years earlier while Kelly was still serving on active duty, his close friend General Joseph Dunford had delivered to him the awful news that his son had been killed while serving in Afghanistan.
Dunford brought the terrible news to General Kelly, and Kelly recalled that message when asked by the President what he could say to a devastated family member in a telephone call. Referring to the death of young Lieutenant Robert Kelly who died in Afghanistan, that message to the lieutenant’s father stated:
He was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that one percent. He knew what the possibilities were because we’re at war and when he died, he was surrounded by the best men on earth, his friends.
That’s precisely what President Trump copied and said to each of the families of the four men who died in Niger. We know this because Chief of Staff Kelly told a news conference first about Mr. Trump’s inquiry to him and then about the President’s subsequent calls to the families. The President did his duty but a member of Congress from Florida sought to gain some publicity for herself by attacking Mr. Trump. After overhearing the President’s call to the wife of one of the slain soldiers, Representative Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) characterized the president’s message as insensitive, especially the portion that Kelly himself had once received – and accepted. He said to Sergeant La David Johnson’s widow that her husband had died “doing exactly what he wanted to do” by serving honorably in Niger.
John Kelly said he was “stunned” by Representative Wilson’s comments. She has reveled in the amount of publicity she has received when she should have been ignored. She now claims to be the equivalent of a “Rock Star,” and delights in the fact that Chief of Staff Kelly has criticized her attack on the President. When Kelly responded to her outburst and likened her remarks to the noise emanating from an “empty barrel,” she played the race card, calling his response a “racist term.” That should have been laughed at, but even though it is a gross absurdity, it gained wide coverage.
Congresswoman Wilson’s record demonstrates that she’s no friend of those who wear the uniform. She has repeatedly voted against measures that would help veterans and their families. One of her votes saw her oppose a measure designed to ensure that families of some slain soldiers would receive death benefits. Yet she gets treated like a “Rock Star” by the same media that delights on finding fault with everything – good or bad – coming from the White House.
In his remarks about this incident, Chief of Staff Kelly recalled that important national attitudes have changed from his youth. His list included: “women were sacred; the dignity of life was sacred; religion seems to be gone as well.“ Most Americans agree that such changes have occurred. It appears that Mr. Kelly was targeting the mass media, the powerful force within our nation that has played a sinister role in altering basic American standards. It is the same mass media that rarely says anything complimentary about President Trump but delights in making a “Rock Star” out of a despicable publicity seeker who happens to be a member of Congress.
Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.