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Frederica Wilson

Witcover: The transformation of Gen. Kelly

Witcover: The transformation of Gen. Kelly

When retired Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly took the job of White House chief of staff, he was widely perceived as a kind of monitor of the erratic behavior of President Trump.

Overnight, however, Nr. Kelly has allowed himself, or has elected on his own, to assume an entirely different role. In stepping forward as a defender of Mr. Trump's controversial condolence phone call to the widow of fallen Army Sgt. La David Johnson in Niger, Mr. Kelly has donned a political and partisan hat.

By marching into the White House press room last week and assailing Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida for listening in on the call and criticizing Trump for it, Mr. Kelly risked his...