Gen. John F. Kelly

Update:

Margaret Sullivan at the Washington Post believes that an even tougher job for new White House Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, than bringing order and discipline to the people’s house might be “hacking through the thicket of lies that the Trump White House produces…”

“The prospects for that are grim,” says Sullivan, mentioning both the Post’s and the New York Times’ catalogues of lies and prevarications.

But, just as my friend the poet mentions below, General Kelly could turn for inspiration to the Marine Corps values “that presumably guided his decorated military career,” the bedrock being honor: “…the quality that empowers Marines to exemplify the ultimate in ethical and moral behavior: to never lie, cheat, or steal; to abide by an uncompromising code of integrity…”

Referring to the title of her column, “Here’s a sword, General Kelly. Use it on the White House lies,” Sullivan concludes:

It’s hard to imagine how that admirable ethos and this mendacious White House can coexist for very long. If there’s a sword involved, Kelly may have to fall on it.

Original post:

The Wall Street Journal, along with other publications, has some positive reviews of how the new White House Chief of Staff, retired four-star general John Kelly, is doing in his new job.

The question now is, says the Journal, “whether or for how long the new discipline can last,” in view of how the president revels “in chaos and [enjoys] public competition among his top advisers” and points out, “There are limits to what Mr. Kelly can control, with Mr. Trump’s Twitter account the most visible example.”

On the latter, Trump’s impulsive tweeting, “news articles and policy proposals will first be run through Mr. Kelly, in part to reduce the risk of erroneous material appearing on the presidential Twitter feed,” according to a White House official.

Also according to a White House official, the new Chief of Staff has been “very clear that he’s here to manage the staff, not to manage the president.”

My good friend, a Viet Nam combat veteran who was assigned to White House duties in the 70’s during the Nixon and Ford years, has a slightly different take, in a poetic form, with emphasis on Duty, Honor, Country:

How long will this “honeymoon” last?
With General Kelly as Trump’s Chief of Staff

Now it’s only speculation: the appointment of Kelly has led to optimistic expectations
As the Marine joins the scene: as Chief of staff in a White House both chaotic and mean
Can we expect “Semper Fidelis” loyalty: from the White House Royalty?
Or will his support slip away: As Trump continues his fickle Tweeter ways

The “yes sir; no sir; I don’t know sir, but I’ll find out sir” disciplined approach could work out
If the Commander-in-Chief exercised any discipline on things he talks about
How do you maintain discipline? Unless you start at the top: otherwise it’ll turn out a flop
Examples must be set: rigor in daily actions met: and honesty has to be the policy: full stop!

Gen. McArthur’s words as he “faded away”: despite being fired by Truman: had many a fan
Duty requires disobeying an illegal or morally wrong command: one needs to take a stand
Honor requires moral strength, unwavering against dictates: even from the highest placed man
Country first: We swear a loyalty oath not to a President, but to the constitution of the land

Trump demands Loyalty from all: if you don’t deliver you’ll fall
His record of returning the loyalty to those beneath: except for family: has been nothing at all
If you just “cow-tow” to your boss’s dictates: no real airing of the issues will it facilitate
Loyalty is a two-way street: honest disagreements you need to air: to get solutions effective and fair

“One-way” loyalty might just be fine: If you’re running a private company: Ok, it’s not a crime
But managing a complex country without including dissenting voices: can lead to disastrous choices
Trump’s zero results from a Congress he “controls” is a prime example of “one-way”
He lifted not a finger to push his healthcare Bill: then to them “you’re disloyal” he did say

Trump had his ten-day wonder “The Mooch”: who turned out to be the proverbial “Pooch”
Comey, Priebus, Spicer and others yell: come join us: it’s great down here under the bus
While Sessions just titters on the curb: suffering insulting Trump Tweeter blurbs
And Republican Senators revolt: giving Trump’s Agenda a devastating jolt

So, Mister President: as any combat experienced Marine would say:
Lead, follow or get out of the way!
You have not been a Leader: just a prolific misleader
Loyalty has to be two-way: just changing a Chief of Staff won’t make your problems go away!

Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist
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