White House chief of staff John Kelly stands by his comments related to his feud with Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., even after video footage revealed he mischaracterized Wilson’s remarks at a dedication of an FBI building.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham asked Kelly on Monday night if he felt like he had something to apologize for following the remarks.
“Oh, no. No. Never. Well, I’ll apologize if I need to,” he said. “But for something like that, absolutely not. I stand by my comments.”
Kelly claimed during a press briefing earlier this month that Wilson had said "she got the money" for a new FBI building during a ceremony in 2015 honoring the heroism of FBI agents killed in a shootout with bank robbers in Miami. Kelly also criticized Wilson's reaction to President Trump's condolence call to a Gold Star widow earlier this month.
The White House has defended Kelly’s account of the events, even though video footage released earlier this month shows Wilson instead discussed her role sponsoring legislation to name the building after fallen FBI agents.
Kelly's remarks came as a defense of Trump in response to Wilson's claim that the president was insensitive when he told the widow of one of the four soldiers killed in Niger this month that her husband "knew what he signed up for ... but when it happens, it hurts anyway."
Trump made the comment while speaking to U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson's widow, Myeshia Johnson, who is pregnant with her late husband's third child.
Trump called Johnson just before her husband's body arrived at the Miami International Airport. Wilson was with her in a limousine and heard the conversation via speakerphone and, after discussing the call with reporters, has clashed with the White House on just what was said.
Kelly said on Tuesday the widow has “every right to say what she wants.” However, he took issue with the fact something “so from the heart” has been politicized.