In a tweet late Thursday, President Donald Trump accuses a Florida congresswoman of lying in her account of a phone call between Trump and the widow of a U.S. service member recently killed in Africa.
The same tweet also asserts that news organizations have been “going crazy” with U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson’s version of the story.
“The Fake News is going crazy with wacky Congresswoman Wilson(D), who was SECRETLY on a very personal call, and gave a total lie on content!”
The Fake News is going crazy with wacky Congresswoman Wilson(D), who was SECRETLY on a very personal call, and gave a total lie on content!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2017
The president’s tweet came hours after Chief of Staff John Kelly made an emotional speech at the White House, saying he was “stunned” to learn that Wilson had been listening in when the president spoke with Myeshia Johnson, widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson — one of four American soldiers killed in Niger nearly two weeks ago.
Wilson, a Democrat, was with Johnson’s family when Trump called to offer condolences. The congresswoman said Trump had told the widow that “you know that this could happen when you signed up for it … but it still hurts.”
Johnson’s aunt said Trump showed “disrespect” to the soldier’s loved ones.
Wilson on Thursday said Trump disrespected Johnson’s widow with his comments during the phone call.
In comments to the White House press corps, Kelly defended Trump and said he was “stunned” by the criticism of Trump’s condolence call to the sergeant’s family. Kelly accused Wilson of “selfish behavior.”
Kelly also told reporters that the president had expressed his condolences “in the best way that he could.”
Wilson gave a cryptic response when Miami television station WSVN-TV caught up with her Thursday, repeating a phrase she said her mother told her when she was a child. Wilson said: “The dog can bark at the moon all night long but it doesn’t become an issue until the moon barks back.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.