Dem lawmaker won't respond to Kelly: 'The focus should be on helping a grieving widow and family heal'

Dem lawmaker won't respond to Kelly: 'The focus should be on helping a grieving widow and family heal'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonOvernight Defense: Iran worries dominate foreign policy talk | Pentagon reportedly to send WH plans for 10K troops in Mideast | Democrats warn Trump may push through Saudi arms sale | Lawmakers blast new Pentagon policy on sharing info House Dem: Trump could start war with Iran to thwart impeachment Lawmakers celebrate 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote MORE's (D-Fla.) office said Thursday she would not respond to White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE's emotional defense of President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE after controversy surrounding Trump's handling of a call with the widow of a fallen U.S. soldier.

"The congresswoman will not be making any further comment on the issue because the focus should be on helping a grieving widow and family heal, not on her or Donald Trump," Wilson's spokesperson said in a statement. 

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The Florida Democrat faced off with the White House this week after sharing details of a call between Trump and the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who died along with three other U.S. soldiers following an Oct. 4 ambush in Niger.

Wilson said earlier this week that she was in the car with Johnson's widow, Myeshia, during a trip to meet the slain soldier's casket when Trump called. Wilson said the president told the widow her late husband “knew what he signed up for ... but when it happens it hurts anyway.” 

Trump fired back at Wilson in a tweet on Wednesday, accusing her of fabricating the account of the phone call.  

Kelly, who is himself a Gold Star father, defended the president on Thursday while criticizing Wilson. The White House had said that Kelly and others also listened in during the call.

“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 the White House press briefing.

“He was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed,” Kelly remembered being told by his casualty officer, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, who is now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1 percent,” he said. “He knew what the possibilities were because we're at war.”