Looks, of course, can be deceiving. And, the more Kelly speaks, the more he sounds like Trump.
Kelly said that the Civil War was born of a "lack of an ability to compromise" and praised Confederate general Robert E. Lee as "an honorable man." For context, here's the fuller quote:
"I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man. He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which in 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it's different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War. And men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had to make their stand."
While a lack of compromise certainly played a role in the Civil War, the major issue was that of slavery -- which Kelly fails to mention in his defense of either Lee or his broader justifications for the war.
Kelly's views on the Civil War reflect equally odd comments made by Trump earlier this year.
. "John Kelly owes the nation an apology because when he lied about me, he lied to the American public.")
I stand by what I said. John Kelly owes the nation an apology because when he lied about me, he lied to the American public. https://t.co/rDr99mWfyU— Rep Frederica Wilson (@RepWilson) October 31, 2017
That willingness to double down on being wrong is also one of the defining characteristics of Trump. Unlike most politicians who will apologize when proven wrong -- or, at the least, not keep repeating the same falsehoods -- Trump seems to revel in doing just that. From his repeated misstatement that the US is the highest taxed nation in the world to his claims about his inauguration crowd size -- and a hundred other false claims in between -- Trump's damn-the-facts approach to his public statements are central to the President's image.
....came to the campaign. Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar. Check the DEMS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2017
We've known from the start of his administration that Kelly is Trump's favorite Cabinet member -- first as director of the Department of Homeland Security and now as chief of staff. The assumption was that Trump's admiration for Kelly was driven by the latter's military accomplishments. (Trump regularly refers to the military men who work for him as "my generals.")
But, increasingly, it seems as though Trump is drawn to Kelly for another reason: Because they see the world similarly. Trump likes people who affirm his views and who are willing to battle political correctness and