Frederica Wilson 2015 video shows John Kelly got it wrong

Anita Tucker
October 21, 2017

He started by describing the reverent handling of America's war dead, bodies packed in ice and shipped home in the dark to Dover Air Force Base.

On Thursday, Kelly said Wilson was politicizing a call President Trump made to Gold Star widow Myeshia Johnson, during which the president said her husband, Sgt.

"John Kelly's trying to keep his job", Wilson told Politico Thursday. And we were stunned, stunned that she'd done it.

KELLY: "It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation".

The remarkable scene underscored Kelly's singular role as an authoritative adviser and now spokesman for a president who is prone to false claims, exaggerations and misstatements. White House aides did not respond when CNN asked if they could make those examples public.

"The Fake News is going insane with wacky Congresswoman Wilson (D), who was SECRETLY on a very personal call, and gave a total lie on content!"

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly defended President Donald Trump's handling of the deaths of US service members, and delivered an intense emotional rebuke to those he accused of politicizing the issue.

Wilson told CNN's Alisyn Camerota that Kelly's "empty barrel" remark was racist, but didn't explain why.

SANDERS: I think he's addressed that pretty thoroughly, yesterday.

Trump - who has frequently struggled with showing empathy - has emphatically rejected claims that he was disrespectful.

Kelly served as the commander of United States Southern Command for four years under President Barack Obama and served as a commanding general in Iraq from 2008 to 2009.

Kelly confirmed Thursday that Obama had not called him, but he made clear "that was not a criticism". That's not a negative thing. Trump later backtracked, saying he was "told" other presidents did not make such calls.

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It appears, according to General Kelly, he did.

Accusing her of being an "empty barrel", Kelly said Wilson focused more on her own actions than the heroism of the two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents for whom the new building had been named. "He knew what the possibilities were".

"That's what the president tried to say to the four families the other day", Kelly said, adding there is "no ideal way to make that phone call".

After President Trump drew criticism for how he talked to the families of USA soldiers killed in action, White House chief of staff and retired Gen. John Kelly tried to put the controversy to rest. The attack happened in a remote corner of Niger where Americans and local counterparts had been meeting with community leaders.

Wilson's office told The Daily Caller News Foundation she "stands by" her Wednesday night statement, in which she reiterated her original account of Trump's phone call. But a video of her remarks at the dedication shows she never took credit for getting the government to come up with the money for the project. His words came out wrong, or they weren't received as he intended. The congresswoman herself, asked by WSVN-TV in Florida about Kelly's remarks, replied only indirectly.

"I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me", he said. "She said, 'The dog can bark at the moon all night long, but it doesn't become an issue until the moon barks back'". "A member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the president of the United States to a young wife and in his way tried to express that opinion that he's a courageous man, a fallen hero".

Since then, a video was released that apparently casts doubt on what Kelly said.

There were family members there.

Robert Kelly, 29, was killed when he stepped on a land mine in Afghanistan's remote Helmand province. Those calls, he said as he fought back tears, were the most important.

That echoes nearly exactly what Trump is accused of saying, and denies saying.

Lemire reported from NY.

Woodward reported from Washington.

Other reports by My Hot News

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