We’ve all seen the images by now. Everyone knows who these folks are.
But several days ago, when this story first broke the news, I didn’t see those images. I saw bits and pieces of headlines, with no images.
I was busy. I just sort of glanced at them. It was about a day before I actually read an article about it.
What I gleaned from those bits and pieces of headlines was this:
First, the moron in the White House hadn’t bothered to call the surviving family members of the soldiers who died in the incident in Niger.
Second, he was being criticized for not having done so and responded with his usual Twitter-tantrum about how no other presidents ever called anyone either (which of course, as everything he tweets, is not true).
Third, he then finally called one of the family members and insulted them.
Fourth, the conversation was overheard and a congresswoman, whose name I did not recognize, repeated part of it to the media.
Fifth, the president then called the congresswoman a liar.
And that is all I knew for a fact.
All I knew that I had confirmed.
I didn’t know which soldier’s family he had called. I didn’t know the soldier’s name. I didn’t recognize the congresswoman’s name at all. And I had not seen the images.
But there is something else that I suspected without any kind of confirmation. I just knew. I didn’t have to look. I didn’t have to read it. I just knew.
I knew that the soldier and the widow and probably the congresswoman were not white. Not white. I didn’t know if they were Hispanic, or black, or whatever, but I knew they weren’t white.
This has been followed, of course, by Trump sending one of his flunkies out to clean up his mess. It’s what he always does, and this time he chose John Kelly for the job.
I know why he did. Kelly is a sympathetic character. He’s lost a son to war. He is a former general. What he says carries weight as a result.
John Kelly had the bully pulpit and could have smoothed this ridiculous gaffe over. He could have stopped it all cold.
He chose instead to sacrifice his own personal integrity to defend an ego-maniac.
It’s a very sad thing to see. But it’s not the saddest thing.
By the time I saw Kelly’s lying tirade about the whole thing, I had seen photos of Rep. Frederica Wilson. I knew that she’s a black woman. I had assumed she was and my assumption was correct.
But had I not seen them, I would have known my assumption was correct. Kelly’s tone and words confirmed it.
From where I’m sitting, that fact—the fact that I knew just by the behavior and demeanor and tone of the messages sent out by Trump and Kelly that the victims in this story are all minorities—is the saddest part of it all.
The video below is well worth watching.