Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham offered sharp dissension from the Trump administration's claim that chief of staff General John Kelly must not be questioned.
The Trump administration has insisted that some people, such as a four-star general serving in the White House, are beyond questioning, no matter what lies they spread.
One Republican senator offered succinct but pointed dissension from such an unpatriotic claim.
Asked if he thought that press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was correct to claim it is “highly inappropriate” to question chief of staff General John Kelly because he’s a “four-star Marine general,” Sen. Lindsey Graham was quick to disagree.
“No, not in America,” he declared.
Donald Trump callously used the memory of Kelly’s son, Marine Lt. Robert M. Kelly, to defend his own dishonesty and neglect of the families of four fallen U.S. soldiers by attacking President Barack Obama.
As criticism amplified of Trump’s use of Robert Kelly as a political football, Trump sent his chief of staff to the briefing room to defend him and to pile on the vicious attacks against the grieving families of the soldiers, and specifically against Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson, a long-time friend of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, one of the four slain soldiers.
Wilson was with Johnson’s family when they received Trump’s belated phone call, during which he cruelly told Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, that her husband “knew what he signed up for.” Wilson confirmed the family’s accounts of the call, and has received nothing but insults from the White House and death threats from Trump supporters in return.
In his attempt to defame and dismiss Wilson, Kelly lashed out at her as a self-aggrandizing publicity hound, rather than a concerned and grieving friend of a fallen soldier’s family. His attacks were quickly proven to be based in outright falsehoods.
But rather than show even an iota of shame or chagrin for this series of repugnant acts and for being caught in such blatant lies, the White House doubled down on their stance. In fact, the administration went so far as to claim that Kelly, as a four-star general, is somehow above reproach no matter what he says.
When CBS News’ Chip Reid challenged Sanders on Kelly’s erroneous claims, her response was galling.
“If you want to go after Gen. Kelly, that’s up to you,” she stated. “But I think that, if you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that’s something highly inappropriate.”
It is not, in fact, inappropriate to call out the hurtful and dangerous lies of a powerful figure in the White House. Indeed, it is part of the job of journalists to do so.
And as Graham pointed out, it is un-American to claim otherwise.