President Donald Trump pushed his feud with a Florida congresswoman into the weekend by tweeting that she “is killing the Democratic party.”
The White House has attacked Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) multiple times over her account of a conversation between Trump and the widow of a soldier killed in combat earlier this month. On Tuesday, Wilson said she was with Myeshia Johnson, a constituent and the widow of the late Army Sgt. La David Johnson, when the president called to express his condolences. She said she overheard the conversation on speakerphone and said Trump told the grieving widow that her husband “must have known what he signed up for.” The comment sparked a wave of criticism, with many calling it insensitive.
Trump responded on Wednesday, saying that Wilson “totally fabricated what I said” and claiming to have proof that the conversation didn’t go as she had described. Wilson shot back that Trump “is a sick man” and that she also had proof. Johnson’s aunt, who was also present for Trump’s call, confirmed Wilson’s account.
Faced with an increasing amount of evidence against the president’s claim that Wilson lied, the White House began to backtrack. Chief of Staff John Kelly addressed the media on Thursday, delivering a strong defense of Trump’s remarks to Johnson. Kelly, whose own son died in 2010 while serving in Afghanistan, then called Wilson “selfish” and claimed she instead took credit for securing the federal funding for the construction of a new FBI building in her district.
But Wilson wasn’t even in Congress when the bill allotting funding passed. And a video of the speech she gave at the building’s 2015 opening ceremony shows that she instead spoke about her role in helping name the building after two deceased FBI agents.