Rep. Wilson responds to White House chief of staff’s criticism

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October 20, 2017

Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson responded to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly Friday, assailing him for him comments he made Thursday at the White House.

Rep. Frederica Wilson says she's a 'rock star' after feuding with the White House

October 20, 2017

Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson responded to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly Friday, assailing him for him comments he made Thursday at the White House.

Rep. Frederica Wilson says she's a 'rock star' after feuding with the White House

Kelly, addressing reporters at the White House briefing, rebuked Wilson for her criticism of Trump's comments on a call to the widow of a U.S. soldier killed in Niger from her congressional district.

Without mentioning Wilson by name, Kelly also appeared to attack her for comments he said she made at the opening of a FBI field office in Miami in 2015, which was named for FBI agents killed in the line of duty.

"A congresswoman stood up, and in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building," he said. "We were stunned, stunned that she'd done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned."

Wilson responded in an interview with CNN Friday morning, taking issue with Kelly using the term "empty barrel."

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"I think that's a racist term too, I'm thinking about that when we looked it up in the dictionary because I had never heard of an empty barrel and I don't like to be dragged into something like that," she said.

At Friday's White House press briefing, press secretary Sarah Sanders repeated Kelly's "empty barrel" comment to reporters and explained, "If you don't understand that reference I'll put it a little more simply. As we say in the south, all hat, no cattle." Sanders' comment seemingly referenced Wilson's well-known collection of elaborate hats.

The congresswoman also accused Kelly Friday of lying about the event, pointing out she wasn't in Congress in 2009 when she says the funding was secured.

A video of the 2015 ceremony obtained by The Sun-Sentinel newspaper appears to support Wilson's account of the ceremony.

"I was not even in Congress in 2009. So that's a lie. How dare he? However I named the building at the behest of Director [James] Comey with the help of Speaker [John] Boehner working across party lines so he didn't tell the truth and he needs to stop telling lies on me."

When pressed on Kelly's recollection of the speech at the White House Friday, Sanders claimed that Wilson had also made "quite a few comments that day that weren't part of that speech" that constituted "grandstanding." She further characterized the questioning of the chief of staff's comments as improper because of his military service.

"If you want to go after General Kelly, that's up to you, but I think if you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general I think that's something highly inappropriate," Sanders said.

Wilson was in a car with Myeshia Johnson when she received a call from Trump earlier this week about the death of her husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, in Niger last month. She took issue with what she says Trump told Mrs. Johnson: that her husband "must have known what he signed up for."

Trump later criticized the congresswoman and denied her account of the conversation on Twitter.

Kelly said Trump's comments to Johnson were based on what he was told in 2010 by Gen. Joseph Dunford, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when his son Robert Kelly was killed in combat. Kelly said the president asked him for advice about what to say.


Courtesy/Source: ABC News