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Readers React: Has President Trump’s attitude rubbed off on Gen. John Kelly?

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, right, with White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who resigned Wednesday after his ex-wives accused him of physically abusing them.
White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, right, with White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who resigned Wednesday after his ex-wives accused him of physically abusing them.
(Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly was brought to the West Wing to control the negative impulses of President Trump. Based on Kelly’s insensitivity and occasional dishonesty, it appears the opposite has happened. (“Trump’s chief of staff, facing heat for backing alleged abuser, has shed his image as calming force,” Feb. 8)

Kelly’s true self began emerging with his aggressive and false attack on Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), labeling her a liar and an “empty barrel.” Even in the face of evidence that he was wrong about the way he characterized something she said years prior at a ceremony to open a new federal building, Kelly refused to apologize.

Kelly then maligned many “Dreamers” as too lazy to register for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He then topped off his ever-emerging insensitivity by continuing to support White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter in the face of allegations that Porter physically abused his ex-wives.

With this tandem of Trump and Kelly, just who is influencing whom?

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Larry Lasseter, Brea

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To the editor: I have wondered for a long time why we acquiesce to those who served in the military and rarely question their judgment.

It could be argued that, because many of these individuals courageously risked their lives on our behalf, we feel a sense of guilt that perhaps subconsciously causes us not to question their beliefs and actions and to assume they are heroes. This is a textbook example of the appeal-to-authority fallacy.

Sadly, automatically deferring can have serious consequences. Matthew Dowd, chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential campaign and a current ABC News political analyst, alludes to this in a tweet on Kelly: “I am hoping this latest insight in Gen. Kelly (and previous insights into Gen. Flynn) will allow us to stop reflexively giving folks with military service a pass on questioning them and their integrity. Military service does not make a man or woman honorable on its own.”

Rick Cherwitz, Austin, Texas

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