On Thursday, retired Gen. John Kelly, President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, weighed in U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson's, D-Fla., account about what the president said to the widow and family of an American soldier killed in the line of duty in Niger. Kelly lost his son in the line of duty in Afghanistan in 2010.
Wilson made headlines across the nation when she offered her account on Tuesday of Trump’s call to the family of Sgt. La David Johnson who was killed earlier this month. The Florida Democrat said Trump told Johnson's widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for."
Trump denied Wilson’s account of the conversation even as Johnson’s mother told the Washington Post that “President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband.”
On Thursday, Kelly spoke to the media and criticized Wilson taking to the national airwaves to offer her account of the conversation.
"I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning and broken hearted when I saw what a member of Congress was doing,” Kelly said
“It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation,” Kelly added. “It stuns me."
"The selfless devotion that brings a man or a woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that might be sacred,” he continued.
Kelly also defended Trump’s handling of the call. "He expressed his condolences in the best way he could,” Kelly said.
Touching on his own experience as a Gold Star father, Kelly noted that he did not receive a call from then President Barack Obama back in 2010 and insisted he was not criticizing the former president in saying that.
"Some presidents elected to call, all presidents have elected to send letters,” Kelly said. “It's the most difficult thing you can imagine."
Wilson was focused on an event in South Florida focused on nursing home preparedness on Thursday afternoon but she did weigh in on Twitter over attacks she has garnered in the aftermath of offering her account of the conversation between the Johnson family and Trump. She also renewed her call for an investigation into the death of Johnson and three other soldiers in Niger.
“It pays to have a thick skin in public service,” Wilson posted. “We need to know why #SgtLaDavidJohnson & fellow soldiers were in such a vulnerable position.”