The congresswoman at the center of the controversy surrounding President Trump's phone call with the widow of a slain Green Beret went on CNN Friday to continue her war of words with the administration, and all this after she pledged to speak no more on the matter.
"We're talking about a specific soldier," Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., said as she criticized the president's handling of his conversation with Myeshia Johnson, whose husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, was killed along with three other Green Berets this month in a deadly ambush in Niger.
"Every soldier is different. Every family is different, and when you have a young mother who is six months pregnant with two small kids, you say, ‘I am so sorry that you have lost your husband. You have our deepest sympathy. If there is anything this nation can do to ease your pain as your president, please let me know. I am so sorry,'" Wilson continued.
She added, "That's what I would have said. That's what [Trump] needs to practice to say. He doesn't need to talk about what people sign up for. That is unconscionable."
The Florida congresswoman was a personal friend and mentor to Sgt. Johnson. Wilson was with Myeshia Johnson when the president called to offer his condolences. Wilson and Sgt. Johnson's mother both allege the call went terribly wrong, and that it ended with Myeshia Johnson breaking down in tears.
The White House at first denied Rep. Wilson's version of events. It argued later that it was in poor taste for the congresswoman to share the details of the president's private phone call with Jonhson.
Wilson, for her part, has cycled through a series of tonally differently responses to this controversy, including defiant, giddy, and somber.
For example, her office pledged Thursday that she would no longer comment on the conversation between Trump and the Johnsons after White House chief of staff and former Marine Gen. John Kelly, himself a Gold Star father, accused the press and the congresswoman of making the president's phone call into a days-long news event.
"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.
However, the statement came not long after Wilson herself responded to Kelly by saying, "John Kelly's trying to keep his job. He will say anything. There were other people who heard what I heard."
On Friday, the Florida congresswoman broke with her office's statement so she could continue to criticize the administration's handling of Sgt. Johnson's death and the president's phone call with the fallen Green Beret's widow.
When Trump told Myeshia Johnson that her husband knew "what he was signing up for," that "is not a good message to say to anyone who has lost a child at war," Wilson told CNN.
"You don't sign up because you knew you're going to die. You sign up to serve your country. And when [Trump] says [Sgt. Johnson] died surrounded by friends, he was abandoned. That did not apply to him," she added. "He was abandoned for two days, for 48 hours. Why? Why didn't they pick him up and put him on their shoulders like they did the other fallen comrades and take him to safety. He could have still been alive."
Wilson also accused Kelly of engaging in racist behavior when he referred to her Thursday as an "empty barrel."
"That's a racist term, too," Wilson told CNN. "I'm thinking about that one. We looked it up in the dictionary because I had never heard of an empty barrel, and I don't like to be dragged into something like that. The only thing I want to be dragged into right now is getting back our girls who are the victims of Boko Haram.
"The sergeant was [in Niger] on detail. He was giving advice and was killed and abandoned," she continued. "We're concerned about Boko Haram being the most vicious terrorist organization in the world, and we never hear about it. And Boko Haram and [the Islamic State] combined, and they killed my son."
There was a slight pause before the CNN hosts pushed her to clarify what she meant by "my son," to which Wilson eventually explained that she meant, "my Role Model son."