White House chief of staff John Kelly on Thursday lashed out at Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), the congresswoman who listened in on and publicly criticized President Trump’s call with a Gold Star widow. “I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing,” Kelly said during the White House press briefing. “A member of Congress who listened in the 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—there’s no reason to enlist, he enlisted and 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. That was the message. That was the message that was transmitted. It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation—absolutely stuns me.” Wilson was riding in a vehicle with the widow of a soldier killed in Niger when the president called and she overheard the conversation. The congresswoman relayed to the press that she heard Trump tell the widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for… but when it happens, it hurts anyway,” and called those remarks “insensitive.” Wilson is a family friend of the widow and the fallen soldier’s own mother confirmed the congresswoman’s characterization of the phone call. The Daily Beast has reached out to Wilson for comment.
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