WH stands by Kelly, repeats ’empty barrel’ criticism of Wilson

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The White House on Friday stood by chief of staff John Kelly’s criticism of Rep. Frederica Wilson’s (D-Fla.) 2015 speech at an FBI building dedication, even though newly released video shows he misrepresented her remarks.

“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 in statement.

{mosads}When pressed on the issue during a Friday press briefing, Sanders accused Wilson of making “quite a few comments” outside of those captured in the speech that were witnessed by Kelly and others. 

“As Gen. Kelly pointed out, if you are able to make a sacred act like honoring American heroes all about yourself, you are an empty barrel,” she said. 
“If you don’t understand that reference, I’ll put it a little more simply—as we say in the South, all hat no cattle.” 
Wilson is known in Congress for her ornate hats. 

Kelly leveled his criticism of Wilson during a rare appearance before the press to quell a controversy surrounding President Trump’s condolence call to the widow of a fallen U.S. solider.

Wilson listened to the president’s conversation with the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson after she put the call on speakerphone. Wilson later said Trump saddened her when he said her husband “knew what he was getting into.”

The retired Marine Corps general suggested the Florida lawmaker showed her true colors when she took credit for securing “$20 million” in funding for the FBI field office in Miami.

“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, and we were stunned,” Kelly told reporters Thursday.

Wilson pushed back, calling Kelly’s accusations “crazy” and said the building “was funded long before I got to Congress.”

Video published Friday by the Sun-Sentinel of South Florida showed Wilson spent several minutes claiming credit for legislation that named the building for two slain FBI agents. But she made no mention of winning funding for it.

The congresswoman also recognized the sacrifice of the agents who were killed and talked about the danger FBI personnel face every day. 

She then asked all law enforcement personnel and first responders to stand up “so we can applaud you for what you do.”

“We are proud of you, we are proud of your courage,” she said.

Tags Donald Trump Fallen soldiers Frederica Wilson John Kelly Kelly Wilson

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