Gen. John Kelly—a Fascist “Star” in the Trump/Pence Regime

July 29, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


When Trump named John Kelly as the new White House Chief of Staff on July 28, he called the retired Marine general a “star.” What has Kelly done to earn this high praise from the fascist-in-chief?

Kelly rose to the rank of general during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. This was a war of empire based on U.S. lies about Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” and “liberating” the Iraqi people. In reality, the U.S. invaders killed thousands of civilians, and their war and occupation unleashed all kinds of reactionary forces and violence that led to staggering horrors for the people in Iraq—hundreds of thousands killed and millions forced to become refugees.

As head of the Southern Command from 2012 to 2016, in charge of U.S. military forces in Latin America and the Caribbean, Kelly was a staunch defender of the U.S. torture camp at Guantánamo. He upheld the “interrogation” of Guantánamo detainees and force feeding of prisoners on hunger strike—practices that international human rights organizations denounce as torture. Many of the nearly 800 Muslim men originally brought there were people who had been simply sold for bounty to the U.S. military, and only a handful of prisoners have ever been charged with anything. But Kelly declared, “There are no innocent men down there.”

Picked by Trump to head the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Kelly was one of three generals and an admiral named to high-level positions in the Trump/Pence regime (James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Secretary of Defense; Mike Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency; Michael Flynn, National Security Advisor—who later resigned and was replaced by another general, H.R. McMasters). As we’ve said, “The fascist agenda of the Trump/Pence regime requires a radical, violent restructuring of U.S. society, and a ferocious re-assertion of ‘America First’ here and around the world. Trump’s incorporation of the generals strengthens his ability to do that.”

As DHS chief, Kelly signed the orders in February that began to put Trump’s call for “expedited” deportations of immigrants into actual practice in horrific ways. Millions have been put in the crosshairs of the immigration police--even people who have been accused of nothing more than a traffic violation, or people who have for years been regularly checking in with immigration officials. Whole communities are living in terror. Families are being ripped apart. Civil liberties are being shredded. Undocumented immigrants, immigrants and anyone who looks or sounds like an immigrant to Trump’s Gestapo, can be grabbed up at any time, for anything.  Since the Trump inauguration, over 400 people a day have been ripped away from their families, friends, and jobs.

When he headed up the Southern Command, Kelly described the flow of undocumented immigrants into the U.S. as an “existential threat”—when, in fact, it is the domination by U.S. imperialists that has been the cause of deep poverty, violent conflicts, and political repression causing millions to flee their homelands. As DHS leader, he pushed for Trump’s border wall, large increases in Border Patrol and immigration police, and other measures to further militarize the border.

Kelly has also enthusiastically championed Trump’s fascist Muslim ban. In an April speech, Kelly attacked those who, in his words, because of “some alleged event at an airport, in a courthouse, or at a border crossing … assume the men and women of DHS are intentionally abusing innocent individuals while breaking or ignoring U.S. law or court orders.” What he dismissed as “some alleged event at an airport” refers to the devastating effects of Trump’s Muslim ban, which was intended to—and did—send shockwaves of terror around the world. The ban led to sudden detentions and closing of doors to immigrants, refugees, and travelers. It separated families. It cut off the trickle of desperate refugees. It demonized Muslims around the world, including people living in the U.S.

Kelly has been right in line with Trump in his fascist attacks on the media and on the rule of law. He claimed that outrageous incidents—like the arrest of a woman who was seized while appearing in court for a domestic violence case and then deported—were simply “partial or inaccurate media report[s].” He declared that if Congress didn’t like the way his DHS was doing things, they should “change the laws [or] shut up.”

Now this promoter of torture, mass immigrant round-ups, and a ban on a whole group of human beings has become the chief of staff for Trump. Commentators in the mainstream media, including those put forward as “critics” of Trump, are hoping that Kelly will bring some “stability” and “order” to the White House.

No! Why the fuck should we want a “stable” and “orderly” fascist regime?! What humanity urgently needs is for people in their millions to drive out the fascist Trump/Pence regime, before they can firm up their power and carry out even more monstrous crimes.


Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.