WASHINGTON, D.C. — White House Chief of Staff John Kelly continued his war of words with Florida Democratic Congresswoman Frederica Wilson early this morning. This week, Kelly made a rare appearance at the podium in the James Brady Briefing Room inside the White House to defend President Donald Trump’s phone call to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was one four U.S. soldiers killed in action during an ambush in Niger. Trump has been roundly criticized by many for being callous and insensitive during the call he made to Johnson’s widow, in which he told her that her fallen husband had known “what he signed up for.”
During the presser, Kelly went to great lengths about what happens when a soldier is killed, how their body is processed, and he spoke about his own son, who was a Gold Star soldier, dying in combat. Kelly defended Trump by saying that the call to widows and loved ones after a soldier or sailor dies is impossible to be “perfect.” Kelly called Rep. Wilson an “empty barrel” and sharply criticized her for politicizing the condolence call, despite the fact that Rep. Wilson is a longtime friend of Johnson’s family and was one of his mentors.
This morning, Kelly had another go at Rep. Wilson. This time, over comments Rep. Wilson made about Hank Lamonte, a man who pretended to be a 4-Star General in the U.S. Army during a string of appearances on Fox News. Rep. Wilson was overheard in the D.C. area at a local coffee shop laughing about Lamonte’s plight and saying something to the effect of, “They may accuse our side of fake news, but they’re the side of fake generals.”
“If Rep. Wilson is going to continue to insult fictitious generals,” Kelly said, “I think she’s making a huge, horrible mistake. I’m so disgusted, frankly, with her assumption that she can just say whatever she wants to a general, real or not.”
General Kelly, himself an actual 4-Star General, said he doesn’t care how many times people like Lamonte or John Garofalo, a man Fox News recently ran a story about because he was an alleged “decorated” soldier who wanted to give President Trump a gift, but turned out to have falsified his military record.
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“The simple truth is that Rep. Wilson has no right to mock us, or to criticize us, or in anyway draw attention to our ineptitude and failures,” Kelly said, “and I don’t care whether that’s real generals or fake generals. You do not attack us, and you do not politicize the death of soldiers, unless you’re a 4-Star general defending a tiny handed, tantrum throwing, orange thin skinned baby boy bitch president. Then you have to.”
Kelly says that real or imagined, people like Lamonte and Garofalo’s military careers should be respected.
“These men bravely sacrificed their honor and integrity to pretend to be decorated veterans so they could rail on Democrats,” Kelly said, “and I’m sorry, but where I come from, where I grew up, you respect that.”
General Kelly says he plans to ask Trump to go before Congress and request funds for a memorial to people like Lamonte and Garafalo, who says had their “hearts in the right place.”
“We should honor these men who didn’t serve but pretended to,” Kelly said, “just like they’d play with their GI Joes in the backyard. America must repay those who pretended to lay their lives on the line for our freedoms.”
Rep. Wilson did not respond to requests for comment.