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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.

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Go deeper

Facebook to lift political ad ban imposed after November election

Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook will finally allow advertisers to resume running political and social issue ads in the U.S. on Thursday, according to a company update.

The big picture: Facebook and rival Google instituted political ad bans to slow the spread of misinformation and curb confusion around the presidential election and its aftermath.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
16 mins ago - Technology

AI is industrializing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Artificial intelligence is becoming a true industry, with all the pluses and minuses that entails, according to a sweeping new report.

Why it matters: AI is now in nearly every area of business, with the pandemic pushing even more investment in drug design and medicine. But as the technology matures, challenges around ethics and diversity grow.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

National Guard chief: Pentagon's "unusual" Jan. 6 restrictions led to 3-hour delay

William Walker, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, testified Wednesday that a three-hour delay in approval for National Guard assistance during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack was exacerbated by "unusual" restrictions on his authorities by Pentagon leadership.

Why it matters: Walker testified that if Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy had not prohibited him in a Jan. 5 memo from using the National Guard's "Quick Reaction Force" without authorization, he would have "immediately" sent troops to the Capitol after receiving a "frantic call" from then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund.

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