John F. Kelly, the 67-year-old retired Marine Corps general who now serves as chief of staff to Donald Trump, appeared to be in anguish as he listened to Trump deliver a speech to the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday morning; at least that’s how he appeared in an Associated Press photograph that quickly went viral after going out on the AP wire.
The speech shocked politics experts and left fellow world leaders sitting “stone faced” as Trump delivered extreme and sometimes bizarre rhetoric toward North Korea; at one point threatening that the United States would “totally destroy” the isolated but heavily armed country. North Korea, earlier this month, detonated a hydrogen bomb in its sixth and to date, the most powerful test of a nuclear device.
“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump intoned in the prepared remarks, which he appeared to read off a TelePrompTer.
Trump then proceeded to refer to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man,” a nickname that Trump himself bestowed upon Kim in a Twitter posting on September 17.
The viral photo of Kelly, in which he appears to be nursing a headache from the apparent pain of listening to Trump’s speech, appears at the top of this page.
“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself,” Trump continued, in his North Korea-focused section of the alarming speech.
The photos taken during Trump’s Tuesday U.N. General Assembly speech were not the first to show Kelly, who took over from the fired Reince Priebus as Trump’s chief of staff on July 31, experiencing what appears to be exasperation with Trump as his boss delivered public remarks, as the following August 15 tweet from NBC News correspondent Kristin Donnelly demonstrated.
John Kelly during the President’s Q and A at Trump Tower pic.twitter.com/vxR3hTUqe3
— Kristin Donnelly (@kristindonnelly) August 15, 2017
The photo of Kelly went viral on Twitter, with numerous Twitter users sharing Kelly’s apparent pain over the Trump speech.
— RiotWomenn (@riotwomennn) September 19, 2017
John Kelly during Trump’s UN speech looks like a dad watching his daughter do naked performance art. pic.twitter.com/6XCqu1loYb
— Sean Kent (@seankent) September 19, 2017
John Kelly at UNGA is all of us. pic.twitter.com/Wza8wrzdCY
— Mira Rapp-Hooper (@MiraRappHooper) September 19, 2017
According to reports out of the U.N. chambers, world leaders in attendance remained “stone faced” through most of Trump’s speech, though his unexpectedly extreme remarks regarding North Korea sent a “buzz” through the assembly. At the conclusion of Trump’s speech, according to the media reports, the hall responded with “polite applause, though not rousing or enthusiastic.”
Not every world leader appeared displeased with Trump’s speech, however. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was photographed with a broad smile on his face; perhaps resulting from Trump’s vague threats to cancel the United States deal with Iran to end that country’s nuclear program, a deal which Trump referred to as “an embarrassment.”
has anyone every regretted their entire life more than john kelly pic.twitter.com/PmR1nfU1t5
— Danielle Tcholakian (@danielleiat) September 19, 2017
— Lesley Abravanel (@lesleyabravanel) September 19, 2017
According to CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta, Trump’s lines threatening to “totally destroy” North Korea and referring to Kim as “Rocket Man” were not part of the speech’s original prepared text and were added at the last minute, although whether they were added by Trump himself or one of his aides remains unclear.
[Featured Image by Mary Altaffer/AP Images]