John Kelly “Stunned” by “Selfish” Florida Congresswoman’s Criticism Of Trump In Soldier’s Death

WASHINGTON — White House Chief of Staff John Kelly Thursday delivered an emotional pushback to criticism that President Donald Trump disrespected the family of a slain soldier who died in Niger when he offered his condolences, calling Rep. Frederica Wilson “selfish” for publicizing the call.

Wilson, D-Fla., said Wednesday that the president told the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson that he knew “what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurts.”

Wilson said she heard part of the conversation Tuesday between Trump and Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, as they were en route receive the Johnson’s body in Miami. Cowanda Jones-Johnson, Johnson’s mother, backed up Wilson’s claim. “Yes, the statement is true, I was in the car and I heard the full conversation,” she said.

Kelly said that Wilson showed “selfish behavior” in listening in on the call and making its contents public and that Trump was doing what he thought was best to console Johnson.

“I was stunned when I came to work yesterday, and brokenhearted, when I saw what a member of Congress was doing,” he said. “… 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.”

Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general whose son was killed in Afghanistan in 2010, said Trump “in his way tried to express that opinion that he (Johnson) is a brave man, a fallen hero.”

Kelly said that Johnson did know what he was signing up for when he enlisted in Army.

“He knew what he was getting himself into because he enlisted,” said Kelly. “He was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be, with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken. That was the message. That was the message that was transmitted.”

Several news reports indicated that Kelly was not aware that Trump would make public the fact that former President Barack Obama did not call him when his son died.

He recounted the conversation with Trump about Obama and said he did not take offense at Obama’s inaction.

“He asked me about previous presidents and I said I could tell you that President Obama who was my commander in chief when I was on active duty did not call my family,” said Kelly. “That was not a criticism. That was just to simply say I don’t believe President Obama called. That’s not a negative thing.”