We have another mess of Trump’s own making and, once again, he demands that his underlings defend him. After another ad-libbed phone call in which he put his foot in his mouth and offended a gold star family after the death of their son, he sent out Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly to clean up his mess. And then Kelly lied, probably unintentionally, about Rep. Frederica Wilson.
Kelly, whose son, Robert, died in combat in Afghanistan in 2010, went on to bring up Wilson’s remarks at the 2015 building dedication and said she boasted of getting money authorized by President Barack Obama to complete the project. Johnson “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,” Kelly said. He said the congresswoman was continuing a “long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise.”
But video of her speaking at that dedication shows that she said no such thing.
But a video from the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale of Wilson’s remarks at the April 10, 2015, dedication shows that she said no such thing during a ceremony that included then-FBI Director James B. Comey. In her nine-minute address, Wilson did recount how she went into “attack mode” to ensure that Congress and Obama expedited a bill to name the building after two fallen FBI agents who were from the area in about four weeks.
When initially told that such legislation could take as long as a year, Wilson recalled, “I said — I’m a school principal — and I said, excuse my French, ‘Aw, hell no, we’re going to get this done.’” Wilson spread credit to others for helping in the effort, including House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). She also told the stories of the heroism of the two agents, Benjamin Grogan and Jerry Dove, who were killed in a shootout with bank robbers in 1986 in Miami.
What makes this all the more absurd is that it’s both false and totally irrelevant. What point was Kelly even trying to make, that we can’t take the word of Wilson (who has also been backed up by the wife and mother of the soldier who was killed) because she exaggerated her efforts in renaming a building? Does he really think we should compare her credibility — or anyone’s — to Trump’s? Trump lies more often than anyone I’ve ever seen, about absolutely everything. If we’re talking credibility here, Trump is going to lose that battle against virtually anyone in the world.I doubt Kelly had any knowledge of this. Some staffer looked it up and wrote it out for him and he repeated it without checking on it. And I’m sure he wanted to be anywhere but there, doing what he was being forced to do to clean up another dump on the rug by Trump. I think he probably feels that he had to do it to maintain his influence over Trump, which he views as important for keeping him from his own worst impulses (and he’s probably right about that). But how much feces can one guy eat, especially a proud four-star general?
Speaking of which, that’s how Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to deflect questions about this false claim about Wilson when asked about it at the daily press briefing. She said it would be “highly inappropriate” to criticize “a four-star Marine general.” And of course, because there’s a Donald Trump tweet for every occasion:
I was never a fan of Colin Powell after his weak understanding of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq = disaster. We can do much better!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2016
General John Allen, who I never met but spoke against me last night, failed badly in his fight against ISIS. His record = BAD #NeverHillary
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2016
And of course, this is the same man who claimed that he knew more than the generals at the Pentagon did about stopping ISIS. But how dare you question a general, you un-American communist! I truly do not know how Sanders, or any other presidential press secretary, can say things like this with a completely straight face. Or how they manage not to kill themselves eventually.