Video appears to show Kelly misrepresented speech of Dem lawmaker he called an ’empty barrel’

Greg Nash

Newly resurfaced video appears to show that White House chief of staff John Kelly was incorrect when he accused Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) of taking credit for the funding of an FBI building in Miami in 2015.

Kelly was speaking to reporters during a rare press briefing appearance to address the growing controversy surrounding President Trump’s remarks to the widow of a U.S. soldier killed in an ambush in Niger.

“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 Obama, and on that phone call, he gave the money, the $20 million, to build the building, and she sat down,” Kelly told reporters.

Wilson fired back at Kelly, calling Kelly’s accusations “crazy” and noting that the building “was funded long before I got to Congress.”

Video of the lawmaker’s full speech released by the SunSentinel appears to support Wilson’s version, putting the spotlight back on Kelly.

The nearly 10-minute video also shows former FBI Director James Comey seated to Wilson’s left.

“He shouldn’t be able to just say that, that is terrible,” Wilson told The Miami Herald on Thursday, referring to Kelly. “This has become totally personal.”

The SunSentinel reported that Wilson did take credit for the naming of the building days before the dedication.

The FBI’s Miramar headquarters was dedicated to the memory of Benjamin P. Grogan and Jerry L. Dove, who were killed in a 1986 shootout.

Wilson was indeed instrumental in pushing the naming legislation through Congress with wide bipartisan support, putting the bill on then-President Obama’s desk in four weeks, just in time for the dedication ceremony.

“Rep. Wilson truly did the impossible, and we are eternally grateful,” Comey said at the time.

The White House stood by Kelly’s criticism of Wilson.

“Gen. Kelly said he was ‘stunned’ that Rep. Wilson made comments at a building dedication honoring slain FBI agents about her own actions in Congress, including lobbying former President Obama on legislation,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “As Gen. Kelly pointed out, if you’re able to make a sacred act like honoring American heroes about yourself, you’re an empty barrel.”

The Florida Democrat made headlines earlier this week when she revealed the contents of a conversation Trump had with Myeshia Johnson, the wife of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed along with three fellow soldiers in Niger.

Trump called the remarks Wilson relayed to the press a “total fabrication,” but Kelly appeared to confirm them during Thursday’s press briefing.

The comments were also confirmed by Johnson’s mother, who was also present during the call from Trump.

-Updated 12:44 p.m.

Tags Frederica Wilson John Kelly

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