Those who have repeatedly tried to dispell the myth—popular in some circles—that White House chief of staff John Kelly is somehow a "moderating force" on President Donald Trump are being widely vindicated after his appearance Monday night on the show of right-wing firebrand Laura Ingraham in which the former U.S. Marine general argued that it was "lack of ability to compromise" that led to the Civil War as he praised Robert E. Lee as a "noble man" and offered a very Trumpian "both sides" argument about the conflict that erupted centrally over the nation's institution of slavery.
Kelly praises Robert E Lee as "honorable man" says "lack of an ability 2 compromise led 2 the civil war" not slavery pic.twitter.com/nKG2Q2YqsK
— #ComeyHearings (@ComeyHearing) October 31, 2017
As the New York Times observed, reaction to the comments was "swift and unforgiving, with many commenters ridiculing Mr. Kelly for suggesting that slavery was an issue on which a compromise could or should have been reached."
Chief of Staff John Kelly pushing white supremacist talking points around Confederate statues. https://t.co/CwbFv33Iq7
— ColorOfChange.org (@ColorOfChange) October 31, 2017
For another example, a forthright and unapologetic Eleanor Sheehan put it for Splinter News, "Gen. John Kelly, President Trump's current chief of staff and onetime media hopeful to steer the sinking ship that is the White House, continues to suck."
Walter Shaub, who served as the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics before resigning in protest this summer, wrote on Twitter that, "It appears John Kelly is going as a racist for Halloween. I suspect he's also going as one for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday..."
Bernice King, a minister and the youngest child of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., also spoke out:
It’s irresponsible & dangerous, especially when white supremacists feel emboldened, to make fighting to maintain slavery sound courageous. https://t.co/qb2X7QhG7M
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— Be A King (@BerniceKing) October 31, 2017
The Intercept's Jon Schwarz, who wrote this scathing takedown of Kelly nearly two weeks ago, chimed in as well:
I'm glad I got ahead of the curve and wrote about what an ugly human being John Kelly is ten days ago https://t.co/K9F5FIt9rI
— Jon Schwarz (@schwarz) October 31, 2017
In that piece, Schwarz observed that even as "Kelly may be personally far more palatable" than Trump, "there’s a reason these two men found each other."
Kelly, he wrote, is "proudly ignorant, he's a liar, and he's a shameless bully and demagogue."
And the president and his chief of staff, Schwarz concluded, "see the world in fundamentally the same way, and Kelly is going to help Trump do what he wants to it."