Congress should block generals from ever serving in a civilian capacity in the White House, The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin argued in an op-ed Sunday.
For Rubin, instead of providing a mitigating force to rein in President Donald Trump’s more “authoritarian impulses,” White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, has accelerated them.
In the op-ed, Rubin complained that during the recent White House press conference, Kelly only let reporters with some connection to a Gold Star family ask questions. Moreover, Rubin stated that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ further admonishment not to criticize Kelly “took on the creepy aura of a military junta.”
As such, Rubin believes Kelly should be replaced because he’s willing to defend Trump’s actions and also because the White House has not become more more disciplined or effective since he stepped on the scene.
“Since Kelly’s arrival, Trump has ignited explosive cultural confrontations, failed again to repeal Obamacare and looked thoroughly hapless in his inability to articulate or stick to any position for more than an hour or so,” Rubin wrote. “Trump blusters and threatens North Korea; he alarms European allies by threatening to trash the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Trump under Kelly’s “day care” still has not filled a slew of top-level posts. Trump is not becoming more competent, more focused, more civil or more respectful of others under Kelly’s tutelage.”
But not only does Rubin think that Kelly should be replaced, but she also wants generals in civilian capacity totally banned from ever serving in the White House again, partly because of a “creeping military authoritarianism.”
“Kelly should be replaced by someone who actually understands democratic governance and can deliver bad news and honest criticism to the president,” Rubin wrote. “Going forward, Congress needs to stomp out creeping military authoritarianism. Congress should start by barring generals from acting in civilian capacities in the White House.”
Rubin isn’t the only commentator who has divined military authoritarianism from Kelly’s statements. Masha Gessen wrote Friday in The New Yorker that Kelly’s defense of Trump looked like a preview to what a real military coup could look like.
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