General Kelly "Stunned" and "Broken-Hearted" That Congresswoman Monitored and Politicized President's Call to Soldier's Widow

by MELANIE HUNTER ARTER October 20, 2017

White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly defended President Donald Trump's phone call to the widow of a soldier killed in Niger this week and said Rep. Frederica Wilson's (D-Fla.) criticism upset him so much he had to collect his thoughts in Arlington National Cemetery.

During the White House press briefing, Kelly told reporters Thursday that when Trump asked him what he should say to the families of the soldiers killed in Niger this week, Kelly shared with Trump what his own casualty officer told him. Kelly's son died in combat in Afghanistan.

"And he said to me, what do I say?" Kelly said. "I said to him, ‘sir, there's nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families.' Well, let me tell you what I told him. Let me tell you what my best friend, Joe Dunford, told me -- because he was my casualty officer.

"He said, ‘Kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1 percent. He knew what the possibilities were because we're at war, and when he died, in the four cases we're talking about, Niger, and my son's case in Afghanistan -- when he died, he was surrounded by the best men on this Earth: his friends," Kelly continued.

"That's what the president tried to say to four families the other day. I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning, and broken-hearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing - a member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the President of the United States to a young wife, and in his way tried to express that opinion -- that he's a brave man, a fallen hero, he knew what he was getting himself into because he enlisted," he said.

"There's no reason to enlist. He enlisted, and he was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be, with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken," Kelly said. "That was the message. That was the message that was transmitted."

As CNSNews.com previously reported, Wilson said she listened in on Trump's phone call to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson - one of four soldiers killed during an ambush in Niger. She complained Wednesday that Trump was "sarcastic" and "insensitive" and told the widow that Johnson must have known what he signed up for.

"It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me, and I thought at least that was sacred," Kelly said.

"You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That's obviously not the case anymore as we see from recent cases. Life -- the dignity of life -- is sacred. That's gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well," Kelly said.

"And when I listened to this woman and what she was saying, and what she was doing on TV, the only thing I could do to collect my thoughts was to go and walk among the finest men and women on this Earth, and you can always find them, because they're in Arlington National Cemetery," he said.

"I went over there for an hour-and-a-half, walked among the stones, some of whom I put there because they were doing what I told them to do when they were killed," Kelly added.

Full General Kelly Press Conference video - click here

Courtesy of CNSNews.com     

Melanie has been with CNSNews.com since November 2000 as an evening editor responsible for writing, editing and posting stories to the website. She was promoted to deputy managing editor in 2002, overseeing the radio production department in addition to her daily editing duties. Prior to working at CNSNews.com, Melanie served as news director for WKYS-FM, one of Washington, D.C.'s top-rated radio stations. Ms. Hunter also worked as a traffic reporter for Shadow Broadcasting in the nation's capital and prior to that, as a news anchor/reporter for WAMO-FM in Pittsburgh, Pa. Her television experience was obtained at several Washington, D.C. stations. She worked for America's Most Wanted at Fox affiliate WTTG, the Creative Services Department of WUSA-TV and the Evening Exchange on WHUT-TV. She holds a bachelor's degree in television production from Howard University.


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