Video evidence now proves that White House chief of staff John Kelly lied about Rep. Frederica Wilson. He owes her an apology.
White House chief of staff John Kelly owes Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) an apology.
Video evidence unearthed by a Florida newspaper proves that Kelly lied about Wilson while he was covering up for Donald Trump's attacks on the family of a fallen soldier Wilson has known for decades.
During Thursday's White House press briefing, Kelly said that at a 2015 dedication for an FBI building in Florida, Wilson bragged that "she got the money" for the structure. He called her an "empty barrel" who was "making the most noise." He claimed that the crowd was "stunned" by her speech.
Wilson told CNN that Kelly "didn't tell the truth, and he needs to stop telling lies on me."
Video newly released by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel proves she was right and Kelly's statement was a complete fabrication.
Wilson described how the bill to name the building for two FBI agents killed in the line of duty was passed and then signed by President Barack Obama. She effusively praised her colleagues — Democrats and Republicans alike — and the law enforcement officials who were in attendance that day.
"I want to acknowledge my colleagues in Congress," she said and listed them by name. "They all helped move this bill."
She also recognized the families of the deceased special agents for whom the building was named.
She recognized then-FBI Director James Comey and praised him.
She acknowledged other federal, state, and local officials.
Then she explained her role in getting the building named, after the FBI came to her and asked for her help to name the building at its ribbon-cutting ceremony only four weeks later. The process of naming federal buildings usually takes the better part of a year.
"I went to the speaker, Speaker Boehner, and I said, 'Mr. Speaker, I need your help. The FBI needs your help, and our country needs your help. And we have no time to waste."
She praised then-Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, for his swift response. She praised Florida's senators, Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Bill Nelson, for their fast action to move the process along.
"It is a miracle, to say the least, but it speaks to the respect that our Congress has for the Federal Bureau of Investigation," she said. "The men and women who put their lives on the line every single day. And today we're providing a boost to our nation by naming this fantastic building in honor of Special Agents Benjamin Grogan and Jerry L. Dove, who died valiantly on Friday, April 11th, in what is still considered the bloodiest gun battle in the storied history of the FBI."
She then asked all members of law enforcement and first responders to stand up and be applauded and recognized for their courage.
She told the story of how the agents died in the line of duty and concluded her speech with praise for them and for the FBI.
"Today, it is our patriotic duty to lift up Special Agent Benjamin Grogan and Special Agent Jerry Dove from the street in South Florida and place their names and pictures high, where the world will know that we are proud of their sacrifice, the sacrifice for our nation. It is only fitting that their names should be placed on the same mantel with the letters F-B-I because Special Agents Grogan and Dove embody the sacred motto for which the agency has become known. Please repeat it after me: Fidelity. Bravery. And integrity. God bless you, God bless the FBI, and God bless America. Thank you."
Wilson did not say any of the things of which she was accused.
Kelly lied, and he did it to deflect the criticism of Trump for his treatment of the family of Army Sgt. La David Johnson. Johnson was one of four Special Forces troops killed in an ISIS-led raid in Niger on Oct. 4.
Trump's statement that Johnson "knew what he signed up for" upset Myeshia Johnson, Sgt. Johnson's pregnant widow. When this was confirmed by both Wilson and Johnson's mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, the Trump smear machine jumped into action.
Trump accused Wilson of lying. He said he had proof, which he never delivered. Hours later, Kelly took over the daily press briefing and confirmed that Trump had used those words. Nonetheless, he attacked Wilson to cover for his boss.
In the process of making that attack, Kelly lied — and invoked his own military service and the grief over his son's death to do so. Now, the video proves that he was lying.
Contrary to many of the existing narratives surrounding the Trump administration, there aren't decent men and women working to protect American institutions from the touch of Donald Trump.
Trump has surrounded himself with a team of enablers, men and women willing to go far beyond anything that is decent or humane to roll in the mud with Trump and join with him in exercising the power of the government.
John Kelly, like so many of the others, has now been exposed for what he truly is. He owes the congresswoman an apology, and America deserves to know the truth.