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.) said Monday that she never received an apology from outgoing White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE after he made false claims about her last year.
Wilson told The Miami Herald that she received nooses through the mail after she and Kelly publicly feuded in October 2017, but she added that the feud also raised her profile.
“I have received death threats and I have received nooses through the mail. However, I have received so much support from the American people,” Wilson told the newspaper. “I have received so much support from military families and so has the family of La David Johnson. Maybe some people in America knew who Frederica Wilson was two years ago but 90 percent of the people know who Frederica Wilson is now.”
Wilson, a 74-year-old Miami lawmaker, last year sharply criticized President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger welcomes baby boy Tennessee lawmaker presents self-defense bill in 'honor' of Kyle Rittenhouse Five things to know about the New York AG's pursuit of Trump MORE’s condolence call to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, an Army Green Beret killed in action in Niger.
Wilson, who is a friend of the Johnson family, said she overheard the conversation. She called Trump’s words and tone during the call insensitive.
Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, and Wilson both claimed Trump couldn’t remember the name of the fallen soldier and told the family that La David Johnson knew what he signed up for in entering the armed forces.
Trump has repeatedly refuted that depiction, saying he was “extremely courteous” during the call and has "one of the greatest memories of all time."
Kelly escalated the feud when he staged a press conference in which he suggested that Wilson inappropriately took credit for securing millions of dollars in federal funding for a new Florida FBI building in 2015.
A video of Wilson’s 2015 speech at the opening of the building disproved Kelly’s claims but the White House never backed down from its criticism of Wilson, saying she made the alleged comments elsewhere.
"If you want to go after Gen. Kelly, that's up to you, but I think if you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that's something highly inappropriate,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at the time.
Wilson started receiving death threats after Kelly's remarks and later skipped a week of voting in the House for security reasons.
“I think he made it very clear when he was asked by the media over and over and he said that he would never apologize,” Wilson told the Miami Herald. “I think my concern was when he attempted to slander me and to impugn my integrity as a sitting member of Congress when he went to the White House briefing room and actually spoke about it to the American people.”
Trump announced on Saturday that Kelly would be leaving the White House at the end of the year, capping off months of speculation about the chief of staff’s departure.
“I have seen him lose a star every six months,” Wilson said of Kelly's tenure. “It started with me, but there were so many other instances where he was not this man ... that everyone expected him to be. He lost all of his stars, all four stars through many more instances that involved racism, misogyny and immigration.”
“General Kelly needs counseling from a pastor or someone who can help him ask for forgiveness from the nation for all of his insults, not just to me but to the Dreamers who he said were lazy,” she continued, referring to a remark Kelly said about some immigrants in February.
Wilson told the Miami Herald that she expected Kelly to be fired months ago but said the president was “hesitant because of all the publicity that he can’t hold staff or he’s a bad manager.”
Since news of his imminent departure spread across Washington, Democrats have been calling on Kelly to make right following his feud with Wilson.
Rep. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeTreasury rolls out quarters featuring Maya Angelou, first Black woman on the coin A presidential candidate pledge can right the wrongs of an infamous day Rep. Bobby Rush tests positive in breakthrough case MORE (D-Calif.) said on Twitter that she hoped Kelly would offer a “long overdue apology.”
Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezLouisiana Rep. Troy Carter announces positive COVID-19 test Joining Pelosi, Hoyer says lawmakers should be free to trade stocks Schumer prepares for Senate floor showdown with Manchin, Sinema MORE (D-N.Y.) said Kelly’s action were cowardly.
"John Kelly was straight up exposed for lying about @RepWilson in comments aimed at discrediting her," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter Monday. "He absolutely owes her an apology, and his refusal to do so isn’t a sign of strength — it’s cowardice."
John Kelly was straight up exposed for lying about @RepWilson in comments aimed at discrediting her.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 10, 2018
He absolutely owes her an apology, and his refusal to do so isn’t a sign of strength - it’s cowardice. https://t.co/BA40Hgofvk