The Florida Democrat who has accused President Trump of being disrespectful to a Gold Star widow, continued her public feud with the president and his chief of staff John Kelly on Sunday morning, declaring on MSNBC's AM Joy that the retired general owed her an apology for what she described as "character assassination."
"I guess you could say [John Kelly] was a puppet of the president, and what he was trying to do was divert the attention away from the president on to me, and he basically just lied on me," said Rep. Wilson. "I don't appreciate people lying on me. And that’s what he did."
Claiming she usually lets this kind of thing roll off her back, Wilson said she could not stand by silent in the face of a supposed "character assassination" and what she alleges are racially charged comments.
"I have been in politics a long time, and most things don't bother me, you know, it just rolls off my back," she said. "I have been lied on before, but the character assassination that he went through to call me out of my name — an 'empty barrel' — and all the work that I've done in this community ..."
Despite the phrase "empty barrel" simply meaning the person who clamors the loudest, having no racial connotations, and being a phrase that Kelly has used in the past, Wilson claims it is "racist."
"Not only does he owe me an apology, but he owes an apology to the American people, because when he lied on me, he lied to them. I don’t think that is fair, I think it is wrong," she said. "And, yes, he does owe the American people an apology for lying on one of their congresswomen."
Wilson also said that part of the reason she's speaking out is that "we need to know why, and we need to know about the special circumstances surrounding [the death of U.S. Army Sgt.] La David Johnson," whose widow Wilson is accusing Trump of disrespecting.
Trump responded to Wilson's appearance on MSNBC by calling her "the gift that keeps on giving for the Republican Party, a disaster for Dems."
Wilson's accusation that Kelly has "lied" about her stems from a comment he made about her using a building dedicated to two fallen FBI soldiers in a self-aggrandizing way. Kelly said she "stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building."
While Wilson did not actually secure funding for the building, she did use the opportunity in an overtly self-aggrandizing way by highlighting her role in getting the building completed. Here are excerpts of her comments:
Consider this scenario. The brand new federal building that will house the FBI has been built, and the FBI approaches my office. “Congresswoman Wilson, the ribbon-cutting has been scheduled in four short weeks. The dedication is on the government’s calendar and cannot be changed. One problem: the FBI wants to name this gorgeous edifice at the same time in four weeks.” Everyone said, ‘That’s impossible. It takes at least eight months to a year to complete the process through the House, the Senate, and the president’s office.” I said, “I’m a school principal,” and I said, excuse my French, “Aw hell no. We’re gonna get this done.” Immediately, I went into attack mode. I went to the Speaker, Speaker Boehner, and I said, “Mr. Speaker, I need your help. The FBI needs your help, and our country needs your help. And we have no time to waste.” He went into attack mode and in two days pulled it out of committee, brought it to the floor for a vote. … We all voted and I dashed it over to the Senate, and put our Senators on notice, “Put it on your radar.” Senator Nelson and Senator Rubio, who have representatives here today, they hotlined it to the Senate floor in just two days. And guess what, the president signed it into law this past Tuesday, April 7, 2015 with a BANG, BANG, BANG!