After White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly gave a deeply personal and emotionally-charged statement against the politicization of fallen soldiers and their grieving families, Florida Democratic Congresswoman Frederica Wilson laughed to reporters about her role in stirring up the controversy over President Trump’s painful call to a Gold Star widow.
“You mean to tell me that I have become so important that the White House is following me and my words,” Rep. Wilson laughingly told Miami 7 News on Thursday. “That’s amazing! This is amazing! That is absolutely phenomenal! I’ll have to tell my kids that I’m a rock star now!”
What Wilson is so flippantly laughing off is a controversy she helped inflame when she accused President Trump of handling a call to the Gold Star widow of fallen soldier Army Sgt. La David Johnson in a supposedly callous manner. Along with the widow, Wilson, who says she was on the speaker phone when Trump called, accused Trump of saying callously that Sgt. Johnson “knew what he was getting into.”
In a briefing on Thursday, Gen. Kelly condemned the politicization of grieving Gold Star families and said he was “stunned and broken-hearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing.” He also described what went on behind the scenes leading up to the call and explained how difficult those calls are to make.
Kelly said he advised Trump to say, “He was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1%. He knew what the possibilities were because we were at war. And when he died he was surrounded by the best men on this Earth, his friends.”
“That’s what the President tried to say to the four families the other day,” said Kelly, who lost his own son in combat in 2010 during Barack Obama’s presidency.
Rep. Wilson responded by cynically accusing Kelly of simply trying to “keep his job.”
“John Kelly’s trying to keep his job,” said Wilson. “He will say anything. There were other people who heard what I heard.”
After clearly enjoying her time in the limelight over the controversy on Thursday, the congresswoman issued a statement saying she would no longer comment publicly on Trump’s call to Johnson. “The congresswoman will not be making any further comment on the issue because the focus should be on helping a grieving widow and family heal, not on her or Donald Trump,” Wilson’s spokesperson told the media Thursday.
Video of Kelly’s remarks below: