White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was caught on Friday lying about a Florida congresswoman whom President Trump has been attacking for most of the week.
During a press briefing on Thursday, Kelly tried to smear Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson as a charlatan who lied to take credit for funding an FBI field office in the state. But the South Florida Sun-Sentinel published archival video disproving Kelly’s claims.
At that briefing, Kelly, a retired Army general, harshly criticized Wilson, who’s been locked in battle with the White House after she told the press about President Trump’s insanely distasteful call to a military widow. Kelly claimed that Wilson took credit for securing funding for the new FBI office in Miramar, FL, in a speech at the building’s dedication to two slain FBI officers back in 2015. Kelly said her speech was in the “long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise” and said she claimed to have been “instrumental” in securing $20 million in funding from President Obama, claims Kelly said left him and others “stunned.”
But Wilson wasn’t even elected when the funding decision was made.
“I was not even in Congress in 2009 when the money for the building was secured,” Wilson said Friday on CNN. “So that’s a lie. How dare he. However, I named the building at the behest of [then-FBI Director James Comey] with the help of [then-House Speaker John Boehner], working across party lines. So he didn’t tell the truth.”
And video from the Sun-Sentinel’s archives backs up Wilson’s telling of events, though she did take credit for securing approval of the building’s name.
But despite Kelly’s pure fabrication being laid bare, the White House was still backing up his lies about Wilson’s speech and doubled down on her calling her and “empty barrel.”
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement:
Face it: Kelly isn’t the presidential face of a decidedly un-presidential administration. He’s just as bad as the rest of them.