Kelly reacts as Trump calls North Korea a "band of criminals" during his address to the U.N. on Sept. 19. Photo: Mary Altaffer / AP

You are White House Chief of Staff John Kelly:

  • You are a true America hero — enlisting in the Marines and rising to become a highly decorated four-star general who once ran the entire U.S. Southern Command.
  • You gave your life to service. Your son, Marine Lt. Robert Kelly, 29, gave his in service, killed after stepping on a landmine while leading a platoon in Afghanistan.
  • Now, you spend your days cleaning up messes all around your Commander, the actual Commander-in-Chief — a guy who dodged the draft, and taunts or tramples on many of the things you feel and believe deep in your bones. Everyone knows you don't share his views, values or politics.
  • Most of your days, like those of your friend Rex Tillerson, blow.
  • You spend most of your time killing bad things: bad ideas, bad information flow, bad habits. You inherited an Island of Misfit Toys, and tossed out the most obnoxious ones.
  • You run a tight ship during workdays -- but lose total control of the wheel when your boss goes rogue, which is most nights, most mornings, most weekends.
  • Now scattered, Trump originals ask what exactly it means for you to do your duty as chief of staff. You feel your duty is to protect the nation from POTUS.
  • But some Trump loyalists won't concede that you're always right and DJT is always wrong. They think that sometimes it's their duty to subordinate their opinions to his. They ask: What's patriotic about thwarting the duly elected POTUS?
  • You cringe and sometime rage when you see the nasty tweets, the childish taunts, the wild improvisation.
  • You start watching Fox just to see what he sees, and read Breitbart for a glimpse of the world through the President's eyes.
  • You plot with Tillerson and SecDef Mattis and National Security Adviser McMaster, and find comfort and camaraderie in your pact to save the world from an impulsive president.

It's a worthy war — but often one you fear you are losing. No wonder you've been caught on camera with an exasperated face pressed firmly against your hand. It's a civilian salute to your new reality.

Go deeper

Transcripts show George Floyd told police "I can't breathe" over 20 times

Photo: Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Newly released transcripts of bodycam footage from the Minneapolis Police Department show that George Floyd told officers he could not breathe more than 20 times in the moments leading up to his death.

Why it matters: Floyd's killing sparked a national wave of Black Lives Matter protests and an ongoing reckoning over systemic racism in the United States. The transcripts "offer one the most thorough and dramatic accounts" before Floyd's death, The New York Times writes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 11,921,616 — Total deaths: 546,318 — Total recoveries — 6,506,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 3,035,231 — Total deaths: 132,042 — Total recoveries: 936,476 — Total tested: 36,878,106Map.
  3. Public health: Deaths are rising in hotspots — Déjà vu sets in as testing issues rise and PPE dwindles.
  4. Travel: United warns employees it may furlough 45% of U.S. workforce How the pandemic changed mobility habits, by state.
  5. Education: New York City schools will not fully reopen in fallHarvard and MIT sue Trump administration over rule barring foreign students from online classes.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: A misinformation "infodemic" is here.
2 hours ago - Health

Fighting the coronavirus infodemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An "infodemic" of misinformation and disinformation has helped cripple the response to the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: High-powered social media accelerates the spread of lies and political polarization that motivates people to believe them. Unless the public health sphere can effectively counter misinformation, not even an effective vaccine may be enough to end the pandemic.