Better late than never. John Kelly was still Chief of Staff when the government shutdown began on December 22 and his last day of work was January 3, so your guess is as good as mine whether he tried to talk reason with Donald Trump about the shutdown. In any event, Kelly and all previous Department of Homeland Security secretaries signed a letter today, advocating an end to it.
Inbox: 5 former Homeland Security secretaries, including ex Trump chief of staff John Kelly, ex Pa Gov Tom Ridge and NJs Michael Chertoff write joint letter urging Trump, Congress to fund the Dept. pic.twitter.com/spmsGoQeFb
— Jonathan Tamari (@JonathanTamari) January 23, 2019
Trump has received correspondence from other groups advocating an end to the shutdown. The Air Lines Pilots Association wrote an extensive letter outlining how the safety and security of the industry was being severely compromised, and this was a few weeks before a woman got past a TSA checkpoint with a revolver and ammunition in her carry-on bag on an international flight.
It’s noteworthy that the letter calls upon “elected leaders.” Trump is in no way a leader, and it’s debatable whether the word elected applies either. However, in the plus column, this is a bi-partisan effort.
John Kelly trashed his reputation in the service of Trump, with his classless “empty barrels” crack about Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, when Wilson defended her friend and constituent Myeshia Johnson, the pregnant widow of slain Green Beret LaDavid Johnson. Trump made grossly insensitive remarks to Mrs. Johnson, saying that Sgt. Johnson, “knew what he signed up for…but when it happens it hurts anyway,” like he would know. Trump denied the remarks and when Rep. Wilson called him a liar, Kelly and Sarah Huckabee Sanders doubled down with the empty barrels remark, and “all hat, no cattle,” respectively, in an effort to bolster Trump by disparaging the congresswoman.
John Kelly isn’t likely to ever live down that particular disgrace, but perhaps this is an effort to do so.