John Kelly shouldn’t apologize to Frederica Wilson, White House says

October 24, 2017 GMT

White House chief of staff John F. Kelly shouldn’t apologize to Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida in their war of words over President Trump’s alleged insensitivity to the widow of a slain soldier, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday night.

“I don’t think that Gen. Kelly was wrong and therefore I don’t think he should offer an apology,” Mrs. Sanders said at a forum at George Washington University.

Mrs. Wilson and the women of the congressional black caucus have demanded an apology from Mr. Kelly, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, for calling the lawmaker an “empty barrel” and saying she violated the sanctity of a president’s call to the widow of a dead soldier by listening in. Mrs. Wilson also said he was using racist terms against her.

Mrs. Sanders said Mr. Kelly stands by his account of a 2015 dedication of an FBI building in Florida in which he said the lawmaker talked mainly about herself instead of the two slain agents that the building was named for.

“We have two different accounts,” Mrs. Sanders said. “I think he has a lot of credibility on this topic. I take him at his word and I don’t think I have anything to add. I support him in his account of that interaction.”

She also said it was “a real sad moment” that the nation was focused on the president’s phone call instead of the soldier’s sacrifice.

“We should be talking about the heroes,” she said.