Gold Star father Khizr Khan in a Monday television appearance argued that White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE used the four soldiers slain in Niger “for political expediency” to defend President TrumpDonald TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT MORE.

“I don't know what he was referencing to, but he was doing exactly the same thing what he was complaining about,” Khan told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” when asked what Kelly was referencing during his rare press conference last week.


Kelly, who is also a Gold Star father, appeared in the White House briefing room on Thursday in the midst of a controversy over Trump’s conversation with the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson. The chief of staff defended his boss and blasted Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonAn attack on America that's divided Congress — and a nation Capitol Police report warned that Congress could be targeted three days before riot Democrats point fingers on whether Capitol rioters had inside help MORE (D-Fla.), who first revealed details of the phone call.

“Bringing Gold Star families, their tragedy, their sacrifice to this political expediency,” Khan told host Anderson Cooper. 

“His appearance in defense of Donald Trump at that moment, moment of tragedy in America, where my four brave sons so bravely lost their lives under very difficult circumstances, instead of honoring them and restraining from political expediency, John Kelly, citizen John Kelly now, we honor his service, we honor his family's service, but now, he is a citizen of this nation," he said. "He was using those examples for political expediency in defense of Donald Trump.”

Trump has repeatedly disputed Wilson’s original account of the phone call. The Florida congresswoman claimed Trump told Myeshia Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”

Johnson in a Monday morning interview insisted Wilson’s description of the call was accurate.

“Whatever Ms. Wilson said was not fabricated, what she said was 100 percent correct,” Johnson said.

But Trump again refuted the account, saying the conversation was “very respectful” and denied Johnson’s claim that Trump had trouble remembering her husband’s name.

Kahn, whose son was killed in Iraq in 2004, has been an outspoken critic of Trump since hitting the national stage at last year's Democratic National Convention. 

This report was updated on Dec. 18 at 10 am.