The battle between White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Representative Frederica Wilson continues after Kelly called Wilson an “empty barrel.” As seen in the below video, Wilson spoke of an “empty barrel” of a woman who made a lot of noise as a barrel but was empty. According to Newsweek, Wilson has viewed Kelly’s “empty barrel” term as a racist one, with Wilson claiming to have viewed the dictionary definition of the term as racist.
“That’s a racist term. We looked it up in the dictionary because I had never heard of an empty barrel. And I don’t like to be dragged into something like that.”
Wilson initially called President Donald Trump a man who didn’t know how to properly console widow Myeshia Johnson, and Kelly jumped to Trump’s defense in an emotional press conference that referenced the death of Kelly’s own son. However, with Kelly using the “empty barrel” term, Wilson claims that the back-and-forth jabs turned racial. Dictionary definitions of the term “empty barrel” are difficult to find since the phrase “empty barrel” is a two-word term. Dictionaries define the meanings of the words “empty” and “barrel” separately, with limited definitions of the term “empty barrel” being found online.
According to Quora, “empty barrel” was referenced by Shakespeare when the Bard used a similar term upon writing that “an empty vessel makes the loudest sound.” However, the old term could have originated with Plato when noting that loud empty vessels have the least wit but are the greatest babblers. However, others point to the Romans as the originators of a term related to an “empty barrel” when they noted that “empty pots make the most noise.”
Whoever came up with the “empty barrel” terminology, it is meant to be an insult, meaning the person is loud without much content. However, there were no readily findable definitions that deemed “empty barrel” as a racist term. Wilson denied being in Congress when funding for the building at the center of the “empty barrel” comment was appropriated. It wasn’t the first time that Kelly had used the “empty barrel” term, according to Fox News. Kelly got the “empty barrels” term from his mother.
“As my blessed mother used to say ’empty barrels make the most noise.'”
[Featured Image by Joe Skipper/Getty Images]