Florida’s legislative black caucus on Tuesday bashed White House chief of staff John Kelly as “an empty suit” and called on him to apologize to Rep. Frederica Wilson for falsely accusing her amid a controversy concerning the death of an Army soldier who was a constituent of hers.
The group’s news conference marked the seventh straight day that the dust-up snagged headlines after President Donald Trump called the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson and fumbled his condolence message to her as she, family members and Wilson were driving to retrieve his body from Miami International Airport. He was killed in an Oct. 4 ambush with three other soldiers in Niger.
Kelly “flat out lied when he said she boasted that she was instrumental in securing federal funding” for the building, said state Sen. Perry Thurston, the caucus chairman, who served with Wilson when she was in the state Legislature before her 2010 election to Congress. Kelly has refused to set the record straight or apologize for wrongly characterizing the substance of Wilson’s comments at the ceremony, which were captured on video.
The US House approved funding for the FBI’s Miami headquarters a year before Wilson was first elected.