White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is being hammered this week by an MSM that has been forced to circle the wagons around one of Congress’s most clownish entities — Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.).
The headlines on Friday were screeching that Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, got it wrong on Thursday when he accused Wilson of showboating during a 2015 ceremony to name an FBI field office building in South Florida after two FBI agents killed in the line of duty.
Kelly said that during the dedication of the Miramar FBI building, Wilson bragged that she had secured the funding for the building. The somber ceremony included three other FBI agents who had been wounded in the gunfight and members of the fallen agents’ families.
“The congresswoman stood up and in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that — and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for the building,” Kelly said. “And how she took care of her constituents because she got the money and she just called up President Obama and on that phone call he gave the $20 million dollars to build the building. And then she sat down and we were stunned. Stunned that she had done it. Even for someone who is that empty a barrel — we were stunned,” Kelly said.
A video has since surfaced that appears to show otherwise.
New York Daily News: Kelly wrongly accused Wilson of bragging about FBI building funds
There’s more, but you get the idea. Rep. Wilson is “vindicated” by the newly emerged tape. But was she?
The media is correct that the video of Wilson’s speech does not show her bragging about securing funding for the building. That allegedly happened before she was elected into office.
What it shows is her effusively bragging about how she had pulled strings to fast-track legislation to name the building in time for its dedication.
Kelly seems to have misremembered the specifics of what she had bragged about in her speech, but remembered the essentials — that her crass, braggadocios manner was stunningly inappropriate.
After Director Comey had already complimented her for getting the legislative work done quickly, Wilson took the opportunity toot her own horn at what should have been a fairly somber ceremony.
One thing Kelly undoubtedly got right is his assertion that the folks he was seated with — likely members of the military and/or law enforcement — were “stunned.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday stood by Kelly’s version of the story, saying, “General Kelly said he was stunned that Representative Wilson made comments at a building dedication honoring slain FBI agents about her own actions in Congress, including lobbying former President Obama on legislation.”
“As General Kelly pointed out, if you’re able to make a sacred act like honoring American heroes all about yourself, you’re an empty barrel,” Sanders added. “If you don’t understand that reference, I’ll put it a little more simply: As we say in the South, ‘all hat, no cattle.'”
In response to another reporter, Sanders said, “she also had quite a few comments that day that weren’t part of that speech and weren’t part of that video that were also witnessed by many people that were there.”
Rep. Wilson, meanwhile, called Kelly a liar and said his description of her as “an empty barrel” was racist.
“That’s a racist term,” she told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota Friday “We looked it up in the dictionary because I had never heard of an empty barrel.