U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) / Flickr Secretary John Kelly...
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) / Flickr

“Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor,” John Kelly assured us, right after he had publicly dishonored Congresswoman Frederica Wilson by calling her an “empty barrel,” when she stood up for yet another woman who was being dishonored. Myeishia Johnson, the widow of Army Special Forces Sgt. La David Johnson, was shattered upon hearing her late husband referred to as “your guy” and told that, “he knew what he was getting into.” On that occasion, John Kelly went to great lengths to protect an abusive male, i.e., Donald Trump, and that is clearly General Kelly’s modus operandi.

Most recently it has come out that Kelly hired a senior staffer who couldn’t pass a security check because of substantial evidence of spousal abuse, and moreover, Kelly went to great lengths to not only keep Rob Porter on board, but to elevate him in the ranks. Porter accompanied Trump to Davos in place of Kelly and Porter was one of a half dozen aides who helped draft the State of the Union address, according to CNN. The culture of the West Wing, and clearly of John Kelly, is to whitewash misogynistic wrongdoing.

 Today the National Organization of Women (NOW) called for John Kelly to resign.

Statement of NOW President Toni Van Pelt


White House Chief of Staff John Kelly must resign. His pathetic defense of staff secretary Rob Porter reveals his true nature—an enabler of domestic violence, a betrayer of trust and an avoider of responsibility.

Why did John Kelly continue to support Rob Porter after he was told about Porter’s history of abuse? Why did he allow a man who was denied a security clearance because of his history of violence against women to continue in a high ranking position of trust? Why did he talk Rob Porter out of resigning, telling him he could “weather the storm,” according to press accounts?

General Kelly should know better. As a military commander, he took pride in protecting his troops. As chief of staff, it is his duty to protect the people who serve in the White House. Women who work for John Kelly are asking themselves today if they can trust General Kelly to protect them from perpetrators of domestic violence.

Clearly, they can’t. John Kelly has shown his true colors. He’s on Team “Grab Them By The Pussy,” leaving women who are victimized by domestic violence to fend for themselves.

John Kelly must go. Today.

The ethics of this administration leave much to be desired, as two former ethics chiefs, Norm Eisen and Richard Painter, attest.

“If you had multiple incidents backed by strong evidence as here, the employee would’ve been immediately asked to resign and if they refused be subject to termination procedures (subject of course to due process),” says Norm Eisen, President Barack Obama’s former ethics counsel. “That is, unless they could offer compelling evidence  the accusations were false.” He adds that with a political appointee “embarrassment to the president is a highly relevant consideration.”

Richard Painter, the ethics counsel for President George W. Bush, says one wouldn’t even need to get to the legal analysis. “I don’t think White House counsel or the chief of staff would reach a conclusion on the merits or whether he was someone to be trusted with women or otherwise,” he said. “I believe the relevant question is whether this is enough of a distraction to undermine the mission of the White House of carrying out the president’s agenda.” He added, “And with this strong evidence and his inability to prove the accusations were false, I would ask him to resign.”

Norm Eisen also said this about John Kelly:

“Kelly’s conduct is a violation of best practice in both White House personnel and intelligence handling,” Norm Eisen, White House Counsel in the Obama administration, told ThinkProgress. “He exposed the White House and so the nation to compromise by sharing America’s and our allies’ most closely held secrets with someone he happened to like but who was subject to blackmail. Now that person is gone but takes all the secrets with him in his head, so the risk continues.”

John Kelly’s judgment is stunningly bad. He seeks to uphold an archaic paternalistic value system. He was supposed to be the “adult in the room,” when he was hired on. So far chaos and acrimony, not to mention racism and misogyny, have been the cornerstones of his tenure. He needs to go.

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