*White House chief of staff John Kelly today defended President Trump’s call to the widow of a slain soldier, and lashed out against the congresswoman who criticized parts of Trump’s call.
As previously reported, Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla) revealed Wednesday (Oct 18) that Trump told the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson that her husband “knew what he was getting into.”
In an impromptu appearance at the daily press briefing Thursday, Kelly said he was so stunned to see the criticism from Wilson that he had to collect his thoughts by going to Arlington National Cemetery for more than an hour.
The retired Marine general, whose son was killed in battle, said he had told Trump what he was told by military officials after his son died in action.
“He was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed,” Kelly recalled. “He knew what he was getting into by joining that one percent. He knew what the possibilities were, because we were at war.”
“I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning, and brokenhearted, at what I saw a member of Congress doing,” he said of Wilson. “A member of congress who listened in on a phone call from the President of the United States to a young wife.”
“I thought at least that was sacred,” Kelly said of Trump’s conversation with Myeshia Johnson.
Referring to Wilson as “this woman,” Kelly continued, “What she was saying, what she was doing on TV. The only thing I could do to collect my thoughts was to go walk among the finest men or women on this Earth. You can always find them, because they’re in Arlington National Cemetery.”
Kelly also made clear that his mention to Trump that President Obama didn’t call him after his son was killed was “not a criticism.”
“That was just to simply say I don’t believe President Obama called,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone. “That’s not a negative thing. I don’t believe President Bush called in all cases.”
Watch Kelly’s impromptu appearance at the White House presser below: