Published: Mon, October 23, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Chief of staff John Kelly offers emotional take on fallen soldier controversy

Chief of staff John Kelly offers emotional take on fallen soldier controversy

During today's briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was confronted over the release of a video of Wilson's Federal Bureau of Investigation speech that contradicts Kelly's comments. He has my sympathy for the loss of his son.

However, Kelly was the one who got his facts wrong. She called General Kelly a "liar" for his characterization of her comments.

"If I were in the vehicle with the family and the president - if President Obama was calling, I would never suggest from a political point of view he did something inappropriate", Graham said Friday.

"There's no ideal way to make that phone call". Kelly then went after her as a publicity hound.

Besides Trump's habit of labeling adversaries with derogatory descriptors, the president's tweets also followed a pattern of claiming those who disagree with him speak only "fabricated" lies. "I hope, as you write your stories, let's not let this last thing that is sacred-a young man or woman giving his or her life for country-let's somehow keep that sacred. But I think that if you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, then I think that's something highly inappropriate", Huckabee Sanders said when asked about inaccuracies in Kelly's statement. He never recovered. But there was also no higher goal for which Spicer could claim he was serving Trump, except that he was a political-communications official, and being the White House spokesman is the top prize in that profession.

Kelly made clear that he did not hold it against Obama for not call- ing. He also said he had had a "very nice call", with the late sergeant's family.

Wilson said, "Basically, he (Trump) said, 'Well, I guess he knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt.' That's what he said".

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However, Kelly's own attacks on Wilson ended up prolonging the controversy and keeping the Johnson family in the news.

Kelly, whose son, 1st Lt. Robert M. Kelly, was killed in action in 2010, described the process of alerting a fallen service member's family about their death and transporting their body back to the United States.

Mr Kelly recalled that Mr Dunford said his son "was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed".

The Defense Department is investigating the details of the Niger ambush, in which Islamic militants on motorcycles brought rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns, killing the four and wounding others. "He knew what the possibilities were", Kelly said he was told. The attack happened in a remote corner of Niger where Americans and local counterparts had been meeting with community leaders.

"Their buddies wrap them up in whatever passes as a shroud", he said, adding that a fellow soldier "puts them on a helicopter as a routine and sends them home". "There was a lot of grandstanding", she said. Wilson was in a vehicle with the widow and Johnson's mother going to the airport for the arrival of Johnson's body, and the call was placed on speakerphone.

Referring to Wilson, Kelly said: "A congresswoman stood up, and, in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there. and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President [Barack] Obama, and on that phone call, he gave the money, the $20 million, to build the building, and she sat down". Mark Hunter, the father, said the call never came. At the airport, widow Myeshia Johnson leaned in grief across the flag-draped coffin after a military guard received it.

"When she got off the phone, she said, 'He didn't even know his name".

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