Compassion, grace, and good will are not President Trump’s strong suit, and people around him recognize that.
Heck, anybody that paid attention to the entirety of his run for the White House understood that. The problem was that there are so many awful people, in what is now a soulless, wretched society, that his callous ignorance and lack of civility was seen by too many as a good thing.
There are, however, too many opportunities for the opposition – equally wretched and lacking good will – to use Trump’s bungling against him, and against the party he now represents.
Current White House chief of staff, John Kelly, suggested that Trump not make calls to the families of U.S. servicemen killed in action. Representative Scott Taylor (R-Va.) agrees, and hopes Trump will take the advice.
Speaking on CNN, Taylor, a former Navy SEAL gave his thoughts:
“Gen. Kelly I think gave the president great advice when he said ‘it’s probably best that you don’t call the family,’ because while we’re talking about this, grieving families and sometimes grieving family members receive information very differently,” Taylor said.
“I hope that moving forward the president will take Gen. Kelly’s advice because he’s been through this, he’s seen this firsthand, he understands it personally. And I would ask the president to lean on Gen. Kelly for his advice,” he continued.
The controversy over Trump’s call to the widow of a Green Beret soldier, Sgt. La David Johnson, killed several weeks ago in an ambush in Niger, was made far more caustic than it had to be.
It was exacerbated by Trump, himself, when he used the fallen to pump up his ego, declaring himself the only president to call each and every family of soldiers killed in action. Subsequent reports revealed that to be an outright lie. He has not, in fact, called every family of the fallen.
Politics being as they are, Democrat Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who was with the family of Johnson when Trump finally called Johnson’s widow, used Trump’s call to branch off into new controversy – namely, the insensitivity of Trump’s words.
Trump has denied that he said what Wilson quoted (the mother of Johnson has said that Wilson’s account was correct), and John Kelly was trotted out to condemn Wilson’s involvement.
Rep. Taylor went on to point out how unhelpful the controversy is.
“I don’t think what’s happening right now between the congresswoman and the president is good for anybody. It’s certainly not good for the family,” Taylor said.
No. It isn’t.
It’s turning into a partisan battle that uses the family as props for the game, and the guilt lies with both sides of the debate.
Wilson is now claiming that Kelly’s criticism of her involvement and continued pushing of the issue is “racist,” which suggests she has no idea what real racism looks like, but will use her skin color as a shield against criticism.
Trump will dig in his heels and continue using Kelly and everybody else around him as his personal public relations team, even to the point of politicizing their own tragedies, as long as it benefits the image of himself as a godlike figure to his base.
So yes, Trump shouldn’t be making any personal calls.
The good news is that that should be easy for him, given he’s not made many, to begin with.