Rep. Frederica Wilson fires back at John Kelly, calls ’empty barrel’ comment racist
On Friday, Rep. Frederica Wilson fired back at White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly after he admonished her over her remarks about President Donald Trump‘s call with the widow of a fallen soldier.
During an appearance on CNN’s “New Day,” the Florida congresswoman said that Gen. Kelly’s comments, in which he referred to her as an “empty barrel,” was racist.
“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,” Wilson said.
The politician also said that Kelly had lied when he accused her of trying to take credit for funding for an FBI field office two years ago.
“I was not even in Congress in 2009 when the money for the building was secured,” Wilson said on Friday during an appearance on CNN’s “New Day.” “So that’s a lie. How dare he. However, I named the building at the behest of (then-FBI Director James Comey) with the help of (then-House Speaker John Boehner), working across party lines. So he didn’t tell the truth.”
Kelly’s remarks were made on Thursday during a press conference in which he addressed the phone call made by President Donald Trump to the grieving widow of Sgt. La David Johnson. Kelly recalled the incident from 2015 and called Wilson an “empty barrel” rather than using her name.
“And 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, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President (Barack) Obama, and on that phone call, he gave the money, the $20 million, to build the building, and she sat down,” Kelly said. “And we were stunned, stunned that she’d done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.”
While Wilson said that she stood by her description of the phone call, in which Trump said that Johnson “knew what he signed up for,” she said that she wanted to put the focus on getting more information about the Niger attack.
“My emphasis today is on my constituents and helping them lay our hero to rest,” she said. “That’s where my head is today. I’m also concerned about (Sgt. La David Johnson) and his last moments. I want to know why he was separated from the rest of the soldiers.”
“Why did it take 48 hours to find him? Was he still alive? Was he kidnapped? What’s going on? … I am distraught and so is the family. There are so many questions that should be answered.”
Twitter has come to the defense of Rep. Wilson, with the hashtag #IBelieveFrederica becoming a trending topic. Take a look at some tweets below.
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) October 20, 2017
#IBelieveFrederica over @realdonaldtrump, but everyone just needs to stop politicizing this. This isn’t about either of these individuals. It’s about the brave soldiers who died defending this country — our democracy and our Constitution.
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) October 20, 2017
— Andrew Weinstein (@Weinsteinlaw) October 20, 2017
#IBelieveFrederica because I’ve been a grieving mom twice and watched my mom as a grieving widow there’s no politics at a time like that.
— Legacy (@Center_Main) October 20, 2017
RT if you believe Rep Wilson, Sgt Johnson’s widow, mom, aunt & uncle over Trump. #IBelieveFrederica
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) October 20, 2017