Kelly Says He’ll ‘Never’ Apologize to Wilson

Also defends Confederate monuments in interview with Fox News

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted October 31, 2017 at 7:54am

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said Monday night he won’t apologize for comments he made about Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson.

Earlier this month, Kelly criticized Wilson for divulging the details of President Donald Trump’s phone call to Myeshia Johnson, the wife of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in a firefight in Niger. He also criticized Wilson for what he characterized as bragging about acquiring money for an FBI building in her district.

But Wilson criticized Kelly for lying, and video footage showed she never talked about money and only spoke about her work with other members getting the building renamed for two slain agents.

In an interview with Fox News’ “Ingraham Angle,” host Laura Ingraham asked if the chief of staff if he felt he had a reason to apologize, to which Kelly responded “No. Never.”

“I’ll apologize if I need to, but for something like this, absolutely not,” he said. “I stand by my comments.”

Wilson was unable to vote in Congress last week because of threats against her, but said she would return to Washington this week. A number of Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus had called on Kelly to apologize for his mischaracterization of Wilson’s remarks at the FBI building dedication and for calling her an “empty barrel.”

Ingraham also asked Kelly about the debate over monuments to the Confederacy and he answered by praising Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee as “an honorable man.”

“He was a man who gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important,” Kelly said. “The lack of the ability to compromise led to the Civil War.”

Kelly also said society makes “a mistake” when it takes what is accepted today as “right and wrong” and applies that morality to historical figures.”