Kelly: I'll 'never' apologize to Dem lawmaker over Gold Star phone call

Kelly: I'll 'never' apologize to Dem lawmaker over Gold Star phone call
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White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE on Monday stood by his defense of President Trump’s call to the widow of a fallen U.S. soldier in which he had accused a Florida congresswoman of politicizing the death, saying he would "never" apologize.

In an interview set to air Monday night on Fox News, Kelly was asked by host Laura Ingraham if he felt he should apologize to Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonTrump, Obamas and Clintons among leaders mourning Aretha Franklin Clyburn rips Trump over Omarosa 'dog' comment: 'I don’t know of anything that has been more troubling to me' Dem lawmaker calls Trump racist in response to 'dog' comment MORE (D-Fla.).

"Oh, no. No. Never," Kelly said on the premiere of "The Ingraham Angle."

"Well, I’ll apologize if I need to, but for something like that, absolutely not. I stand by my comments."

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The retired general, who also lost a son in combat, laid blame on Wilson rather than Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow who had backed up the congresswoman's account that Trump came across as disrespectful to the grieving family.

"As far as the young widow goes — she has every right to say what she wants to say," Kelly said of Myeshia Johnson.

"But it’s the politicization of something that was so from the heart," he added.

Kelly defended the president earlier this month amid mounting criticism that he told Johnson during a phone call that her husband "knew what he was getting into," after being killed in an ambush in Niger.

He also accused Wilson of grandstanding during a speech at the opening of an FBI field office, though video of her remarks fail to show the self-congratulatory comments he mentioned.

The Florida congresswoman first detailed the contents of the conversation to the public, after the soldier's mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, said she felt disrespected by the president's remarks.

“It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me. I would have thought that was sacred,” Kelly said during a surprise appearance in the White House press briefing room in mid-October. 

Wilson, who said she had known the Johnson family for a long time, said she was in a car when Trump called and spoke in a way that was "so insensitive" that he caused Myeshia Johnson emotional distress.