Earlier this week, the Trump administration got caught up in a controversy over President Trump telephoning his condolences to the four families of the soldiers killed in Niger. President Trump was criticized for telling one of the widows that her husband “knew what he was getting into,” by Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who was listening to the call on speakerphone. White House Chief of Staff retired General John Kelly would come to the defense of the president, criticizing the congresswoman for listening, and telling a story, without naming her, of her taking credit for getting funding for an FBI office in Miami in 2015. However, video of the 2015 event shows the congresswoman having never said anything about getting the funding during her speech. This led the White House to stand by Kelly and say we should not question him on such matters. This begs the question: Do we have the right to question or criticize General Kelly on these issues?
Those who believe we have the right to question the general immediately point to the First Amendment, saying that, in this country, we not only have the right, we have a duty to question our leaders. Also, they feel that if we are not allowed to question General Kelly, then we are on our way to a dictatorship. In addition, the general either knowingly or unknowingly lied about what the congresswoman said and he deserves to be questioned and, yes, criticized for it.
People who feel it is wrong to question General Kelly argue that a man who has dedicated his life to this country and who has lost a son in combat does not deserve to be questioned. He was talking from the heart about the loss of his son and the men he has lost under his command and was clearly emotional in that moment, and if he was mistaken about who said what at an event two years ago, we should give him a break. Also, they view this situation as a Democrat trying to score cheap political points on the graves of fallen soldiers.
What very well may be the hardest part of a military person’s job is dealing with the loss of soldiers under their command. John Kelly knows that feeling all too well, and President Trump is having to learn on the job about those feelings. Should we criticize the president or General Kelly on how they handle that situation? Each of us will have to decide if that is appropriate.
In this clip, Fox Business shows General Kelly’s remarks about the phone calls:
Do we have the right to question General Kelly on anything we want? Are we exercising our rights under the First Amendment by questioning our leaders, or are we needlessly criticizing a man who has spent his life in duty to his country?
It’s alright to question General John Kelly
People who say we have the right to question General Kelly are saying that we have a duty and an obligation under the First Amendment to question our leaders about everything.
He invited criticism by telling a big, bald-faced lie. A disgrace to all of US who served. Did you?
— Echosensei (@echosensei) October 21, 2017
I don't care how many stars a general has. If he spreads blatant lies, we will criticize him vociferously. #JohnKelly
— BJW Nashe (@BJWNashe) October 21, 2017
— Don't Be Complicit (@profc71) October 21, 2017
What's highly inappropriate is @PressSec claiming that it's highly inappropriate for the free press to question blatant lies from the white house chief of staff John Kelly. #FirstAmendment is first for a reason!@CNN @MSNBC @NewsHour @FoxNews @ABC @CBSNews
— ListToPort (@ListToPort) October 21, 2017
It’s wrong to question General John Kelly
Those against questioning General Kelly say that he is an American hero and deserves our respect and he should not be bothered with questions about things while he is serving our country.
General John Kelly's speech was heart-wrenching, you can see the sadness in his demeanor, for anyone to criticize him is a disgrace ????
— Lauren Beser (@BeserLauren) October 21, 2017
I’m seeing a lot of people who never served, let alone lose a son, on the left having the gall to criticize John Kelly. Classless. #MAGA
— Steve Mager (@americana_prime) October 21, 2017
HOW DISGUSTING! John Kelly spoke from his heart! Only ppl who could possibly criticize him, are HEARTLESS sickos! Twist words for politics!
— Momof3 (@calimom61) October 19, 2017
Do you think it’s wrong to question General Kelly?