- Rep. Frederica Wilson, a vocal critic of President Donald Trump’s response to the deaths of four US troops in Niger, disputed White House chief of staff John Kelly’s remarks during his press conference.
- Kelly gave a critical account of a memory he had of Wilson, which Wilson claims was “crazy.”
The divide between the White House and Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida, the congresswoman who represents the district of a fallen US soldier killed in Niger, was deepened when Wilson accused Kelly of falsifying her side of the story, according to a Miami Herald report.
On Thursday, Kelly headlined the White House’s press conference and addressed the recent criticisms Wilson gave on President Donald Trump’s controversial response on the deaths of four US soldiers in Niger. In his speech, Kelly gave his account of a memory he had of Wilson, during a dedication ceremony for a new FBI building named in honor of two FBI agents who were killed.
“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,” Kelly alleged. “And how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call, he gave the money, the $20 million, to build the building, and she sat down.”
Wilson claimed that Kelly’s account was false and that Washington had already secured the funds before she was elected: “That is crazy that I got [the money] and Mr. Obama just gave it to me,” Wilson said in The Herald. “That building was funded long before I got to Congress, I didn’t say that. I have staff, people who write the speeches. You can’t say that.”
“He shouldn’t be able to just say that, that is terrible,” Wilson continued. “This has become totally personal.”
Contrary to Kelly’s $20 million figure, the FBI building cost $194 million, according to a previous report. Despite the discrepancy, a White House spokesman issued a statement on Thursday evening, saying it “stands by Gen. Kelly’s account of the event,” The Herald reported.