We’re told not to question the general

And then there’s what Sarah Huckabee Sanders said about Wilson’s untruths. The Times piece reported it:

“General Kelly said he was ‘stunned’ that Representative Wilson made comments at a building dedication honoring slain F.B.I. agents about her own actions in Congress, including lobbying former President Obama on legislation,” Ms. Sanders said in a statement. “As General Kelly pointed out, if you’re able to make a sacred act like honoring American heroes about yourself, you’re an empty barrel.”

Ms. Sanders escalated the messaging a few hours later: “As we say in the South: all hat, no cattle,” she said. Ms. Wilson is known in the Capitol and in South Florida for her colorful hats.

Ms. Sanders also told a reporter who questioned Mr. Kelly’s veracity that “if you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that that’s something highly inappropriate.”

That made my hair stand on end all right – so much so that I left it for a separate post (this one). Excuse me? We’re not allowed to argue with the White House chief of staff, because he’s a four-star Marine general? This is not a military dictatorship. It’s always been creepy that Trump put so many military guys in top jobs, though also unsurprising given how crude his thinking is. This just confirms how genuinely creepy it is. Kelly is not the general of us, just as he’s not the daddy of us or the boss of us. We are not Kelly’s subordinates. Kelly doesn’t get to tell us what to do. We don’t owe him one bit of extra deference because he’s a general. People may feel extra respect for him, and that’s their right, but we don’t owe him obeisance. Trump, most emphatically, does not get to hide behind his generals so that we can’t contradict him.

Chris Cillizza at CNN was also taken aback.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said something during her daily press briefing Friday that actually took my breath away.

CBS News’ Chip Reid asked Sanders about a factual inaccuracy in White House chief of staff and retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly’s attack on Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson on Thursday. Here’s how Sanders responded:

“If you want to go after General Kelly, that is up to you. If you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that is something highly inappropriate.

Just in case you don’t get what Sanders is suggesting, it’s something like this: General Kelly is a highly decorated soldier. As such, questioning things that he says is “highly inappropriate.”

That wouldn’t be true even if he were speaking in his military capacity – but he wasn’t. He has a civilian job in a civilian government now, and he does not get to use his rank as a silencing tool.

Start here: General Kelly’s military service and the sacrifices he and his family have made for our country are beyond question. It is impossible to suggest otherwise.

But that military service does not mean that questioning Kelly’s statements is wrong or inappropriate. Quite the opposite! Kelly is the chief of staff to the President of the United States. He is, in that role, arguably the second or third most powerful person in the country. A person with that sort of power must be held to account for what he says and how he acts.

And not only that – Kelly is the chief of staff to the most chaotic, reckless, idiotic, malevolent, corrupt piece of shit who has ever held the office, so questioning is all the more urgent.

Another remark Sanders made later in the briefing would suggest that her comments about questioning Kelly weren’t simply a slip of the tongue.

Asked about the ongoing back-and-forth between Trump/Kelly and Wilson regarding comments the President made to Myeshia Johnson, a woman whose husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, was killed serving in Niger, Sanders said of the story: “It should have ended yesterday after General Kelly’s comments. But it didn’t. It continued.”

First of all, one of the big reasons it continued is because Trump himself tweeted this just before 11 p.m. on Thursday night: “The Fake News is going crazy with wacky Congresswoman Wilson(D), who was SECRETLY on a very personal call, and gave a total lie on content!”

We are not Kelly’s grunts.

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