Following the controversy surrounding President Trump's consolation call to the widow of a U.S. serviceman killed in Niger, Chief of Staff John Kelly criticized Rep. Frederica Wilson's (D-Fla.) public interpretation of the conversation, which she overheard in the car. "A member of Congress listened in on a phone call from the president of the United States to a young wife," Kelly said. "And in his own way, [Trump] tried to express that option, that [the late soldier, Army Sgt. La David Johnson, was] a brave man and a fallen hero."
Video: Gut-wrenching stuff as Gen. Kelly describes his emotions upon seeing Democratic Rep. Wilson parading around blasting Trump pic.twitter.com/1quiR8ta0R
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 19, 2017
Kelly's emotional speech was informed by personal experience: His son, 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly, 29, was killed by a landmine in Afghanistan in 2010. "There's no perfect way to make that phone call," Kelly said. "My first recommendation was he not do it."
Kelly nevertheless commended Trump's bravery for speaking to the widow and said he was "stunned" and "broken-hearted" by Wilson's comments to the press. "That selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on that battlefield, I just thought that might be sacred," he said. Watch below. Jeva Lange
WH Chief of Staff John Kelly addresses the Trump troop controversy and explains the procedure that follows the death of a US service member: pic.twitter.com/eYIyrxUK42
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) October 19, 2017
Speaking in New York City on Thursday, former President George W. Bush made sharply pointed comments about the state of America without referencing President Trump by name, Politico reports. "We've seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty," Bush told attendees of a Bush Institute forum entitled "The Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In the World."
"At times it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together," Bush said. "Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization."
George W Bush: "Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seem more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication." pic.twitter.com/oz0uxilggT
— David Mack (@davidmackau) October 19, 2017
"Bigotry seems emboldened," Bush went on. "Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication."
Bush "has said very little publicly about the current president, or about American politics at all," Politico observed. "Thursday's speech, in which he detailed what he sees as the causes for democratic collapse, the path forward, and what were obvious references to Trump … was a major departure in a speech that called on a renewal of American spirit and institutions."
A spokesman for Bush told The Hill the speech was "long-planned" and not a critique of Trump. "This was a long-planned speech on liberty and democracy as a part of the Bush Institute's Human Freedom Initiative. The themes President Bush spoke about today are really the same themes he has spoken about for the last two decades," the spokesman said.
Watch more of Bush's remarks below. Jeva Lange
President George W Bush in NYC: "We've seen nationalism distorted into nativism...we need to recall and recover our own identity" pic.twitter.com/dsiSkFzEVp
— Pat Ward (@WardDPatrick) October 19, 2017
Morning Joe's Mika Brzezinski reacts in stunned horror to Trump's erroneous claims about fallen soldiers
Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski was unable to hold back her thoughts Tuesday concerning President Trump's erroneous claim that his predecessors did not call families of fallen soldiers, Mediaite reports. "Can [Trump] make a moment, perhaps just one, not about himself?" Brzezinski asked, shaking her head in disbelief. "It's really hard to watch. It's unbelievable. It's just gross."
"It's offensive enough," agreed co-host Joe Scarborough. "What is doubly offensive is ... he makes it about himself, 'boy, it's really tough,' and then he brings up his petty, long-running, insecure, pathetic, sad, weak dispute with the 44th president of the United States."
"This is rock bottom," Brzezinski said, "when he speaks like this, about our heroes."
Later in the segment, Brzezinski marveled: "What good, honest person, with a sense of duty and honor to this country, what person who loves America would say something like that? Let's just say it. There's nothing good about it, it's horrible — not a good person." Watch her remarks below, and Trump's original comments here at The Week. Jeva Lange
CNN's Chris Cuomo was not letting Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) off the hook during an interview Friday about President Trump's use of an executive order to unwind parts of the Affordable Care Act. "You have said that the American people have spoken loudly during the midterms: They want a legislative fix to problems," Cuomo reminded Jordan. "Those were your words. You said President Obama can't be an emperor. He has to execute laws, not write his own. That is exactly what this president is doing — why isn't your criticism the same?"
"That's why we passed out of the House a bill that would have improved the health-care situation, a bill that would have repealed most of ObamaCare, a bill that would have replaced it — " said Jordan.
"But it didn't become a law," Cuomo interrupted.
"I know, and that's a problem," said Jordan. "This underscores why we need to get back to doing that and actually repeal this law. That should be the focus."
But Cuomo hardly let it go that easily: "And you are okay with [Trump] doing it by executive orders when you have pounded executive orders in the past?" Cuomo challenged. Watch the full interview below. Jeva Lange
There is trouble brewing in Hawkins, Indiana. The trailer for Stranger Things season 2 has dropped (on Friday the 13th, of course) and even with the Demogorgon destroyed, peace has clearly not returned to the quaint Midwestern town.
First of all, Will — newly returned from the Upside Down — has a vision of a spooky, spider-like apparition hanging over Hawkins that seems up to no good. The paranormal activity is perhaps linked back to the creepy experiments at the nearby lab, the extent of which was only beginning to unfold in season 1. Of course, as might be expected, Mike, Lucas, and Dustin are on the case (adorably decked out in Ghostbusters Halloween costumes, no less).
Then there is the lingering question of what is going on with Eleven.
— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) October 9, 2017
Halloween 1984 looks like it's going to be a doozy. Watch the full trailer below, and the new chapters beginning Oct. 27 on Netflix. Jeva Lange
— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) October 13, 2017
CNN's Chris Cuomo just got into an explosive debate with Kellyanne Conway about Trump's Vegas response
CNN's Chris Cuomo and presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway have a history of going toe-to-toe, but the pair engaged in an especially explosive debate Thursday as the New Day host pushed for an urgent response to the Las Vegas massacre while Conway defended President Trump's decision not to talk about gun control in the wake of the attack.
Conway began by criticizing liberals for only appearing to care about gun control in the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting. "[Hillary Clinton] has tweeted about guns one time this year," Conway said. "Bernie Sanders, zero times. Elizabeth Warren, zero times. They have tweeted about Russia over 30 times, Sanders and Warren. And to approximate CNN's own coverage, your obsession of Russia has been to the exclusion of this conversation." Conway added that the network has plenty of graphics for impeachment or the Russia probe, but none for bump stocks, the modification used by the Las Vegas gunman to rapidly shoot more than 500 people in 10 minutes.
"It is the first time it has been used in a mass murder," Cuomo rejoined, referring to the bump stock. "What are you talking about? It is the first time bump stocks have been relevant in the discussion."
Cuomo went on: "[Trump needs] to seize on the urgency of this, otherwise [gun reform] will never happen," he said, adding that "if you care about the victims, you care about why they got killed. And if you think what this man had isn't part of that conversation, then you talk about why they died. And you talk about what made it possible." Watch the long, heated back-and-forth below. Jeva Lange
After famously dubbing President Trump a "bum" over the weekend, LeBron James doubled down on his comments at the Cleveland Cavaliers' media event on Monday. "The thing that kind of frustrated me and pissed me off a little bit is that [Trump] used the sports platform to try to divide us," James said in response to Trump's comments about NFL protests as well as his decision to disinvite the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry from the White House. "It is so amazing what sports can do for everyone, no matter what shape or size or race or ethnicity or religion or whatever … It just brings people together like none other."
James added: "We're not going to let — I'm not going to let ... one individual, no matter the power, no matter the impact that he should have or she should have, ever use sport as a platform to divide us."
LeBron James: "The people run this country. Not one individual. And damn sure not him." pic.twitter.com/b82ojpXkZt
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 25, 2017
James also stressed that everyone should try every day to make a difference for others. "We know this is the greatest country in the world," James said. "It's the land of the free. But we still have problems just like everybody else, and when we have those problems we have to figure out how to come together and be as great as we can be as a people. Because the people run this country. Not one individual. And damn sure not him." Jeva Lange
In his Tuesday night monologue, Jimmy Kimmel accused Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) of lying "right to my face," harshly contrasting the Louisiana senator's promises to Kimmel with the terms in the health-care bill he has co-authored with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Earlier this year, Cassidy assured Kimmel that he would follow the "Jimmy Kimmel Test," meaning families with children like Kimmel's son, who required emergency open-heart surgery shortly after birth, shouldn't be denied affordable health care.
Kimmel said the Cassidy-Graham bill fails this test. Cassidy responded Wednesday, saying: "I'm sorry [Kimmel] does not understand."
Under the Republican bill, "more people will have coverage and we protect those with pre-existing conditions," Cassidy told CNN's New Day — a claim critics say is patently false.
"The counterargument will be, pre-existing conditions will be up to the pricing of the particular state and market," CNN's Chris Cuomo replied. "So it's not what it is now, where you can't allow insurance companies to cherry pick and punish people for pre-existing conditions. So the protection is not the same, senator, on that one point." Watch below, and catch up on Kimmel's monologue here. Jeva Lange
— New Day (@NewDay) September 20, 2017