Upproping the idea that 45 will become presidential the longer he’s in the position is a tendency that never seems to completely die in wistful quarters of the political media. The outward expression of their desire had abated as the White House sank into tragicomic bedlam, but the appointment of Department of Homeland Security secretary and four-star marine general John Kelly as chief of staff has revived the spirits of those who just want to believe.
Even reliably oppositional outlets express some hope that Kelly can whip Trump into shape. I get it. Seeing one of the seats of power in the federal government so off balance is perturbing, and the fetishization of the military is deeply ingrained in our culture. The Fourth Estate yearns for things to be as they’ve always been with mild and easily reportable variations. But with their barrage of Strong and Tall Kelly instituting military discipline in the organization stories (“Kelly Closes Door!”, “Kelly Fires Patrick Bateman!”), one wonders if they’ve considered the consequences of what they’re hoping for. Do they want a competent Trump administration?
Here’s just a few of the things the administration has been able to accomplish despite six-plus months of legislative non-starters and the kind of podunk tomfoolery that puts Moonshiners to shame: a sharp spike in coordinated deportations, road blocks to legal immigration with a much harsher measure on the horizon, an open endorsement of police brutality, the growth of the carceral state, war on what could generously be called the free press, withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, attacks on LGBTQ rights…
All this from the shambolic version of the administration. And if you too are yearning for Kelly to turn the West Wing into a well-oiled machine, remember that Kelly was Trump’s DHS secretary. He’s on board with much of Trump’s vile repitilian agenda. It’s the botched execution that stuck in his craw.
We wish General John Kelly the greatest success in at least one part of his mission, though: his agreement with Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis that one of them is always in the country in case Trump tries anything really, phenomenally, “this will kill us all” stupid.
(Year Zero/Day One Hundred and Ninety-Seven)