The U.S. general who can win without fighting
There was a little surprise for White House reporters Thursday.
“Although I read it all the time, I’m not quitting today,” White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said.
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Kelly gave the daily briefing. His mission: Dismantle the storyline about a White House in chaos.
The first tough question: the Trump tweet that said FEMA can’t be in Puerto Rico forever.
“I think he said the U.S. military and FEMA can’t be there.”
Well, Kelly explained, first responders are the ones who get there first – they’re not supposed to be there forever. The president was not saying he was abandoning Puerto Rico.
“This country, our country, will stand with those American citizens in Puerto Rico until the job is done. But the tweet is exactly accurate. They’re not going to be there forever.”
Not an entirely satisfying answer, but notice how calm and non-snippy he was.
So what about the leak alleging that the president asked about stockpiling ten times as many nukes?
“I hear him mostly say — about nuclear weapons — that wouldn’t it be great if we could get rid of them all; as opposed to we need ten times more.”
And instead of calling reporters “disgusting,” he found a far more effective way of scolding the networks for these stories in the form of a little friendly advice.
“I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you are operating off of contacts, leaks, whatever you call them. But I would just offer to you this advice: I would say, maybe develop better sources.”
The chief of staff also mostly ignored the reporters the front row.
“Are the people in the front row the most important people?”
Well played, general.