Thursday, February 08, 2018


At the end of a short Axios item on the resignation of serial spouse abuser Rob Porter, who was vigorously defended by the president's chief of staff, we're told the following:
Watch for: a glut of stories analyzing the M.O. and character of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, along with speculation about consequences for him.
That prediction may be correct. Already today, The New York Times has a Gail Collins op-ed chastizing Kelly for his defense of Porter, his offensive remarks about the alleged laziness of DACA-eligible immigrants, and other Trump-like acts.

But over at The Washington Post, I see this:

Throughout his 40-year career as a Marine, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis built a reputation as an aggressive warrior, leading a blitz on Baghdad and pushing a reluctant Obama administration to hit back against Iran.

Over the past year, he has learned to play a different role: acting as a check on an impulsive president.
Maybe it's a coincidence, but just as we're learning that John Kelly isn't the general we can count on to be "the adult in the room" with President Trump, the Post is praising another of "Trump's generals" for exemplary adultitude. In her op-ed, Collins also praises Mattis:
Even in this administration, it’s possible to be better. Think about Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, who’s trying to get Congress to pass a defense budget. Not necessarily easy under normal circumstances, and definitely harder when the president is prioritizing that super-duper military parade.

Asked about Trump’s goal to recreate Bastille Day in Washington, Mattis said mildly that he was “putting together some options” and moved on. He did not claim the House of Representatives was too lazy to get up off its ass and do what the White House wants.

Maybe Mattis could be chief of staff.
Yup, and maybe if we move a few more deck chairs, the Titanic won't sink.

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