In the 2000 film Thirteen Days, an entertaining flick loosely based on the historical events surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis, a particular line has always stood out to me… Kevin Costner who portrays Kenny O’Donnell, a special assistant to President Kennedy says: “If the sun comes up tomorrow, it is only because of men of good will. That is all there is between us and the devil.”
That line is particularly poignant given what can only be described as the chaos that is the Donald Trump presidency. I say that based on countless reports that the current administration is being held together by the likes of several people who seem to value their country over their own political futures. In the last few months, there were stories of Gen. John Kelly (Sec. of Homeland Security at the time, now White House Chief of Staff) and Gen. James Mattis (Sec. of Defense) making a sort of deal for one of them to always be in the country at any given time to ensure that Trump doesn’t go off the rails and make a colossal mistake that would endanger our standing in the world… in other words, babysit the President of The United States. This morning I wake up to read an expose by NBC News that details several sources claiming that Sec. of State Rex Tillerson wanted to resign back in July after Trump made a politicized speech to the Boy Scouts of America, an organization that Tillerson once led. The same story also claims that several sources quote Sec. Tillerson of calling Trump a “moron” during a classified meeting. The report goes on to say that Kelly, Mattis and VP Mike Pence intervened to stave off his resignation. Tillerson has since come out to deny the resignation report, but conspicuously failed to deny the “moron” part of the report.
As of this evening CNN is quoting Sen. Bob Corker (R- TN), respected Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, saying:
Corker suggested Wednesday that Gens. John Kelly and James Mattis as well Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are the “people that help separate our country from chaos,”
Asked directly by a reporter whether he was referring to Trump in using the word “chaos,” Corker, who announced last month he would retire in 2018, responded: “(Mattis, Kelly and Tillerson) work very well together to make sure the policies we put forth around the world are sound and coherent. There are other people within the administration that don’t. I hope they stay because they’re valuable to the national security of our nation.”
He went on to add:
Corker said that Tillerson is “in an incredibly frustrating place,” adding: “He ends up not being supported in the way I would hope a secretary of state would be supported. … He’s in a very trying situation — trying to solve many of the world’s problems without the support and help I’d like to see him have.”
All of this brings me back to the quote from Thirteen Days. It appears to many watching that the men of good will are doing their absolute best to keep us from falling over a chaotic ledge as our standing in the world is at stake. I would also add UN Ambassador Nikky Haley as another “person of good will” to the mix too. She has been clear, coherent and steadfast in her job… and will be a political force to reckon with in the future. Not because she worked in the Trump administration, but despite of it.
Here is hoping they hold the line, we need them now more than ever.