We have another big firestorm distracting America, involving the ever-unapologetic Donald Trump.
This time it is over a poorly communicated condolence call to the wife of a black soldier killed in battle
in Niger three weeks ago, on October 4 2017.
The Late Sgt. La David Johnson Killed In Niger[/caption]
Trump finally telephoned the wife of La David Johnson of
Miami, Florida, twelve days after the soldier died, making the call October 16th. Johnson’s widow was riding
to the airport to meet the body of her late husband when the President’s call came into the cellphone
of Master Sergeant Neil, the military service member assigned to her. Mrs. Johnson states that
she asked “Neil to put his phone on speaker” so the other people in the car could hear what would
be said. Accompanying her in the car were Florida Congresswoman and friend of the family, Frederica Wilson,
Sgt. Johnson’s aunt and uncle, ‘who raised him [La David Johnson] after his mother died when
he was a small child,’ Sgt. Neil, plus the driver.
Remember non-millennials, this is 2017. Utilizing the speakerphone option is very common today,
especially if you’re not a fan of developing a brain cancer. Unfortunately, Mr. Trump insensitively
told the aggrieved pregnant Mrs. Johnson ““you know that this could happen when you signed
up for it… but it still hurts.” These words caused additional hurt and anger in Mrs. Johnson “at his tone of
voice and how he said it.” Mrs. Johnson stated in an ABC ‘Good Morning America’ interview
with George Stephanopoulus on Monday morning October 23. (Congresswoman Wilson said
that the tone sounded almost like that of someone making a joke.)
Congresswoman Wilson also stated that Myeshia Johnson cried throughout the phonecall.
Mrs. Johnson in the Oct. 23 interview, stated that she did not say anything to the President, she ‘listened.’
This seems to belie the claim from Trump that they had “a very nice conversation.” Conversation
means two people conversing, talking. Conversation.
““And when she [Myeshia Johnson] hung up the phone, she looked at me and said, ‘He didn’t even
remember his name.’ That’s the hurting part,” Wilson said. “It was horrible. It was insensitive. It
was absolutely crazy.””
“Trump on Wednesday 10-18-17 claimed Wilson’s account was “totally fabricated,” and claimed he had “proof.”
“What was the proof, Mr. President?” a reporter asked Trump.
“Let her make her statement again and you’ll find out,” he replied, and, pressed again,
repeated, “Let her make her statement again and you’ll find out.”
Cowanda Jones-Johnson, Johnson’s aunt, told the Washington Post on Wednesday that
Trump “did disrespect” Sgt. Johnson, Myeshia Johnson, herself and her husband. Asked whether
Wilson’s account of Trump’s conversation with Myeshia Johnson was accurate, Jones-Johnson said, “Yes.””*
So Trump, the pathological liar, reflexively reacts to such claims by lying, saying:
““I had a very nice conversation with the woman, with the wife, who sounded like a lovely woman.
Did not say what the congresswoman said, and most people aren’t too surprised to hear that.””
A normal person would have shut up and not falsely tweeted about this unfortunate episode, but not Donald Trump.
Instead, this President goes on the offensive, tweeting ‘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!’
[capitalized SECRETLY is Trump’s tweeted case].
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson Called ‘Empty Barrell’ by General John Kelly[/caption]
A normal person would have called the widow back, out of respect for her and her husband, who had made
the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and softened the blow, apologized for his insensitive communication
with her, made it right. Instead he tweets/calls the Congresswoman ‘wacky’ to degrade her, capitalizes the
word SECRETLY in his tweet, and calls HER a liar! Again, this is 2017 and many people would have put that
condolence call on speakerphone to better diffuse the pain of what might be said, amongst several intimate loved ones.
Meanwhile, we now know that several people were listening in to the call on the other side of the conversation,
physically situated nearby Donald Trump on this ‘very personal call.’
Now as an Emergency Room (ER) doctor, I know how difficult it is to tell members of a family that their loved one
did not survive the emergency that brought them to the ER. In fact, after 45 years in the ER, I eventually
determined that of all the things I had to do, this act was the most stressful, terrible responsibility I had to perform.
However, I had to this in person, usually in a ‘family room’ where anguished loved ones were waiting in various stages
of hope for word on the status of the patient. In person, I had to deliver the news of the fate of a human being – -
that had died. Obviously, this stresses the soul of all people concerned. But in person, being a professional,
I learned to deliver this news in as empathetic a way as was possible, listening to the survivors’ words and
sensing their feelings. Leaving a few beats between what I said initially, and how anyone in the room reacted.
Mainly helping those involved understand what had happened, consoling them. Very occasionally I did
lose it myself, despite all my experience in trying to be a professional rock for the grieving family.
Doing this via telephone is more difficult. Especially if you are lacking in empathy in the first place, like
our apparently ill-prepared President. But maybe he became too nervous and could not say the right thing?
Maybe Mrs. Johnson’s crying dissembled his thoughts so that he forgot to mention La David Johnson’s name?
Or did he just do this job perfunctorily, poorly, not getting everything together in front of himself, so he
would say the right thing? Was there any racism involved? Does he have difficulty
relating to other-than-straight-white people fawning at his feet and praising him to the sky???
Bad as this all was, then we have General Kelly coming out to clean up the mess.
He did very well for a few minutes on October 19 2017, relating his experiences with his two soldier sons, one
who died while proudly serving America in the military. “He was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he
was killed,” in 2010, Kelly volunteered. Kelly’s other son is serving active duty now.
But then out comes his reasons for being in the White House, supporting Trump.
He berates Congresswoman Wilson as an ‘empty barrel’ making so much noise – never mentioning her by name.
Also claiming (erroneously, we have discovered after fact checking) that she heinously claimed
responsibility for garnering the funds for an FBI building erected in her Florida district.
He was “stunned” by such self-aggrandizing behavior, he revealed. (Here is a link to a video
of General Kelly’s speech – from the Lawrence O’Donnell show Oct. 19 2017:)
And his now famous quote from October 19, 2017 [stunned!! Again]: “It stuns me
that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me.
I would have thought that was sacred.”**
We can see that the General is hypocritical and tone deaf. Other people were listening in the room
where Trump was speaking on the other end of the telephone line. Speakerphone mode is a common
option used in our current social media world, to help share experiences, and, in this case, share imminent pain.
After Kelly’s un-sacred remark about notification-of-soldier-death phonecalls, he subsequently threw in how
he thought that Gold Star soldiers and women were amongst what “this country used to hold
sacred,” as they were in his Boston Catholic childhood white world of the 1950’s, when husband-beaten wives
would go to confession and be told by the priest that despite their husband’s abusive behavior
there could be no divorce – as same-generation, same-home-town-Boston boy Lawrence O’Donnell
related that very October 19th night on his 10 o’clock show on MSNBC (check above link). For all of
Kelly’s words about women being sacred, and being respected, Kelly then disrespected the black
Congresswoman, misremembering what she said in her speech in 2015 (aired on the Joy Reid show in the
8-9 PM slot on MSNBC October 20, 2017), 3 minutes plus of which you can view / check via this link:
General Kelly accused Congresswoman Wilson of something she never said,
calling her an ‘empty barrel,’ not respecting her enough to
mention her name. Of course, we have to ask how much racism is in Kelly’s heart, how
much misogyny governs his behavior, and how does he get it so wrong re what he actually
remembers of Congresswoman Wilson’s speech commemorating the erection of the FBI building.
In which she thanked John Boehner for so quickly facilitating getting the logistics together for naming the
building after two deceased FBI agents. Congresswoman Wilson made no mention about
herself having anything to do with the funding for erecting the building, as you can hear
when you listen to her speech. (She states that she was not a Congressperson in 2009, when
the funding had actually been secured.)
Then Sarah Huckabee Sanders, current White House Press Secretary, carries out more
insulting insensitive anti-democratic B.S. stating that it would be ‘highly inappropriate’
to dispute what a “4-Star marine General” claims. Patriotic angered members of the
Press and the common citizenry are taking exception to such an extreme point of view.
Which is obviously highly inappropriate in its wrong right, but perhaps not for those
who see military officers as the highest infallible form of mankind, even if they now
are working for the government in the role of a civilian servant.
Then we have to wonder how these four young men died in Niger, and what they were
doing there. Two were Green Berets: Bryan Black, 35; and Dustin Wright, 29.
Sergeant La David Johnson was 25; Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson was 39.
It may have been related to a political act that several diplomats have called
‘incomprehensible.’ In the latest edition of the Travel or Muslim Ban of September 2017,
the nation of Chad was added to the prohibited countries list. Chad is a large country in
Sub-Saharan Africa bordering Niger on the east, which has been relied upon by both the
USA and France, as a staunch ally in the fight against Isis and Islamic militants in Central Africa.
Niger Lies Between Chad On The East & Mali On The West[/caption]
Once the news arrived that the Trump administration was in the act of banning Chad citizens from
entering the USA, Chad began withdrawing their well-trained soldiers from Niger in the
last week of September. The battle in which the four soldiers were killed occurred
on October 4 2017. President Trump had not reached out to any of the families of
the four fallen soldiers until the beginning of the past week of October 16 2017,
nor had mentioned anything about it to the press or the citizens of the USA, though
it was the most serious military killing episode of his administration’s existence.
Chad is ruled by a dictator, according to Rachel Maddow (see below – link to her show of October 19 2017).
Oil is one of Chad’s great resources, and Maddow mentioned that a $74 Billion fine
was levied upon EXXON for not paying agreed-upon royalties/taxes within the last two years.
She could not discover exactly how the dispute was settled, or if it has been settled entirely,
but it might have upset EXXON and its former CEO Rex Tillerson, who is now the
Secretary of State of our country, heading our pitifully undermanned State Department.
Could this have led to the Chad inclusion in the Travel/Muslim Ban? Was it all a rookie mistake
on the part of the Trump administration? If so, is it impossible to admit to any mistake, or
ever apologize, if you are a member of the Trump administration, following the behavior
of our stubborn un-empathetic President?
As Oliver Hardy would commonly say to Stan Laurel (of Laurel and Hardy): ‘This is a fine mess you’ve gotten
me into!” Trump sends out Kelly to clean up his mess, and true to form, lying for a liar, the
General shows his true colors, both negative and positive, and digs the hole deeper and deeper,
with the nauseating assistance of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and an embarrassing crew
of psychological/ideological (?logical??) misfit sycophants populating OUR White House.
You would think the Trump administration would have quit being stupid here, but no.
At 5:30 AM Monday morning October 23 Trump has to tweet out: ‘I had a very respectful
conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from
beginning, without hesitation!’ which he has to know he did NOT do. But there he is,
pathologically lying. He can’t stop himself! Has to put that exclamation point there, after
the word ‘hesitation!’
During Mrs. Johnson’s ABC morning interview a few hours later, Mrs. Johnson stated
Congresswoman Wilson’s statement about Trump’s phonecall was “100% correct.” That
Trump did not know her husband’s name until about halfway through the call, he was finally
“stumbling” to say it.
Can we figure out what is going on here? Is this the typical misogyny we have to endure,
living like an infective virus inside the soul of our President? Is this the typical bullying of
an arrogant white man and his General old-school surrogate, of two black women, whom
they think they can outflank with the bluster of white privilege discrediting Congresswoman
Wilson and Mrs. Johnson in the eyes and minds of supportive white people, like those
who populate Trump’s ‘base?’ What he says being ‘truth’ to them; what the black women say
being inconsequential and unreliable?
Notice also that Trump has reverted to his perverted namecall-game, now capitalizing
the word Wacky when referring to Congresswoman Wilson in his newer tweets
referring to her, so that the three-word moniker has that alliterative
sound deploying those three ‘w’s. Wacky Congresswoman Wilson. Has a distinct
tang to it, doesn’t it? Great for the high school bully in the schoolyard, but not
for someone who is supposed to be behaving as our President.
P.S. Even with all this, the right things to do would be for both Trump and Kelly to call
widow Johnson, and Congresswoman Wilson, respectively, to apologize and correct
any misunderstanding, confess that each man made a mistake, resurrect whatever integrity
is resurrectable from this obscene episode. This could be done privately, without any
big bluster or public relations to-do, out of respect for a fallen American soldier, his family,
and a dedicated Congresswoman. It would be the right thing to do, don’t you think?
Additional information: We have 800 troops in Niger currently, more than in any country
in western Africa. Most Congresspeople, including Senators Lindsey Graham and
John McCain, were not aware of this, had not been informed of such military deployment.
Africom, our command center for Africa, is located right on site: in
General Joseph Dunford Discusses Niger; States Wife Of Sgt La David Johnson Not Being Able To View Body Is “Family Decision”[/caption]
General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in his
hour-long session with the press at the Pentagon yesterday, October 23, related that
though Mrs. Wilson in her morning ABC interview complained about not being allowed
to see her husband’s body locked into its casket, Dunford stated of her viewing of it:
“It’s the family’s decision.”
We’ll see what the actual story on that is, possibly, in the next few days.
(C) 2017 Conrad Miller M.D.
the above is from the morning of Oct 21 2017