Frederica Wilson

Trump's chief of staff, facing heat for backing alleged abuser, has shed his image as calming force

Trump's chief of staff, facing heat for backing alleged abuser, has shed his image as calming force

When John Kelly oversaw the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, dozens of detainees refused to eat as a form of protest. Kelly, furious at the potential propaganda implications, instructed his charges to avoid using the term “hunger strike,” insisting it be called a “long-term nonreligious fast.”

That moment in 2013 showed that Kelly can be “spectacularly tone deaf,” said a senior military officer who served at U.S. Southern Command when Kelly was the commander. It highlighted “a kind of paternalistic, the-adults-are-in-charge, we-know-better, cavalier approach to bending and attempting to control facts.”

“If you think you can control language, then you have a lot of...

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