The White House Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, almost lost his temper yesterday. Almost.
When explaining to the gathered press the steps to be taken before calling the family of a fallen soldier, he in effect shut down the whole discussion which had been ongoing for a few days now about President Trump and his ‘supposed’ disrespectful words to a gold star family.
General Kelly: “Most Americans don’t know what happens when we lose one of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines or Coast Guardsmen in combat.”
The 67 year old retiree knows the loss very well. His own son, Second Lt. Robert Kelly, was killed in 2010 when stepping on hidden explosives in Afghanistan.
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Mr Kelly tried to explain to the press the pain he felt when being informed of his son’s death: “It was disorienting, almost debilitating. At the same time my mind went through in detail every memory and image I had of Robert from the delivery room to the voice mail he’d left a few days before he died. . . . It was as graphic as if I was watching a video. . . . It really did seem like hours but was little more than a second or so.”
He went on to discuss the process of informing the family had never typically involved phone calls from the president. Letters are the more common response.
“I don’t believe any president, particularly when the casualty rates are very, very high, that presidents call,” General Kelly stated.
President Trump had demanded him what to say to the family member of the fallen soldiers in Niger, to which he had replied that there was no right answer to give.
“I guess over time I had convinced myself that I could imagine what it would be like to lose a son or daughter. You try to imagine it so that you can write the right kind of letters or form the right words to try to comfort. But you can’t even come close. It is unimaginable.”
Afterwards, he also stated that he had never gotten a call from the President when his own son died on that tragic day in 2010.