Dem rep responds to Kelly: 'This has become totally personal'

Dem rep responds to Kelly: 'This has become totally personal'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonFlorida Democrats call on DeSantis to accept federal help to expand COVID-19 testing In their own words: Lawmakers, staffers remember Jan. 6 insurrection FAA levies 5K in fines against unruly passengers this year MORE (D-Fla.) accused White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE of giving an inaccurate account of a building dedication he referenced in a White House press briefing on Thursday, in which he called her an "empty barrel" who took credit for the building's funding. 

"He shouldn't be able to just say that, that is terrible," Wilson told The Miami Herald. "This has become totally personal.”

Wilson was referring to Kelly's comments earlier Thursday when he said Wilson had taken credit for getting money for an FBI building in Miami that was dedicated to two fallen agents in 2015. 


“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. 

“That is crazy that I got [the money] and Mr. Obama just gave it to me,” Wilson told the Herald. “That building was funded long before I got to Congress, I didn’t say that. I have staff, people who write the speeches. You can’t say that.”

The back-and-forth comes after Wilson 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 she was in the car with Johnson's widow, Myeshia Johnson, 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.” 

Kelly, a retired Marine general whose son was killed in Afghanistan in 2010, defended the president on Thursday while criticizing Wilson.

“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,” he said. 

Wilson's office said in a statement on Thursday she would not comment on Kelly's criticism of her take on the phone call.