When White House Chief of Staff John Kelly took the podium yesterday, it was a McCarthy moment.
Some may not remember Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy. He believed there were Communists throughout the government and as chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations he hauled many people before it for hearings.
He went too far, though, picking a fight with the Army. They hired lawyer Joseph Welch and McCarthy accused one of his attorneys of having ties with a Communist organization. Wikipedia describes: “As an amazed television audience looked on, Welch responded with the immortal lines that ultimately ended McCarthy’s career: ‘Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.’ When McCarthy tried to continue his attack, Welch angrily interrupted, Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?'”
It’s that line that resonated with Americans and got McCarthy censured by his colleagues. He was ostracized and died 3 years later at 48.
Yesterday, General Kelly accomplished the same thing with his impromptu press conference. He basically asked the same question of the Florida Congresswoman, the Democrats and the media that pounced on this story Kim Jong Un on a new rocket. They were blasted. They have no decency among them. It’s evident.
The beautiful thing is, Kelly showed he is all decency. He didn’t pontificate. He didn’t dramatize. He didn’t get angry.
He just told his personal story in such a heartfelt way that even the press corps stopped yapping for a while. His agony over his son’s death and others’ was completely sincere. The jackals in the audience even understood that.
Since then, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson has retreated. But not before saying, “You mean to tell me that I have become so important (loud laughter) that the White House is following me and my words? This is amazing! That’s amazing! That is absolutely phenomenal! I’ll have to tell my kids that I’m a rock star now!”
She may not care about decency, but the average American does. She crossed the line (actually hopped and skipped over it several times) and still thinks she’s OK.
She is not.