Twitter ripped into Donald Trump and unearthed his past attacks on military generals after the White House said that the press disputing generals was “highly inappropriate,” reports The Hill.
It all started when White House chief of staff John Kelly, a retired four-star general, attacked Rep. Frederica Wilson after the latter accused Donald Trump of deriding La David Johnson’s widow and family during a condolence phone he made this past week. Wilson claimed that Trump said Sgt. Johnson “knew what he signed up for,” an accusation that channeled a wave of fury against the president for his perceived insensitivity when handling phone calls to families of fallen military personnel.
Kelly came out in defense of Trump, disputing Wilson’s version of the phone call and questioning her motives in the past, attacking her for allegedly bragging about having secured a federal aid through then President Barack Obama to build an FBI field office dedicated to two agents who had died during a gunfight. Kelly reprimanded Wilson for being an “empty barrel” and for hogging the limelight on the somber occasion.
“And a congresswoman stood up, and in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that 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. And we were stunned, stunned that she’d done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.”
— POLITICO (@politico) October 19, 2017
Frederica Wilson called John Kelly “a liar” for his account of the event and disputed his narrative, saying she had only intended to honor the fallen FBI agents. On Friday, South Florida Sun-Sentinel released a video of the event, which was attended by John Kelly, corroborating Wilson’s claims. Not only did she not once take the credit for having secured the funding for the building, she thanked the bipartisan support that helped honor FBI agents Benjamin Grogan and Jerry Dove.
“Today, it is our patriotic duty to lift up Special Agent Benjamin Grogan and Special Agent Jerry Dove from the street in South Florida, and place their names and pictures high, where the world will know that we are proud of their sacrifice, their sacrifice for our nation.”
— Sun Sentinel (@SunSentinel) October 20, 2017
In light of the emergence of the video, leading publications such as the editorial board of the Washington Post demanded that John Kelly issue Frederica Wilson an apology.
“It is unfortunate that the sacrifice of brave people such as these two agents or the four soldiers killed in Niger can get overwhelmed by the petty name-calling of politics. That is a point Mr. Kelly was trying to make Thursday, and that he undercut with his misrepresentation of Ms. Wilson. He needs to set the record straight.”
Despite this, when reporters confronted White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders about the veracity of Kelly’s statements about the event, she said that questioning the version narrated by Kelly was “highly inappropriate” because he was a four-star general, and by consequence, insinuated that he should be outside the gambit of even verifiable allegations.
“If you want to go after Gen. Kelly, that’s up to you. But I think that if you want to get into a debate with a 4-star Marine general, that’s something that’s highly inappropriate,” Sanders said.
At which point, Twitter completely lost its cool.
I have tremendous respect for the military but the notion that no one can even question the statements of generals is un-American.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 20, 2017
Not only did people like CNN’s Jake Tapper chastise the White House for defending John Kelly even when his narrative about Frederica Wilson has been denounced, Twitter ripped into President Donald Trump, unearthing a series of past tweets where he attacked military generals. Twitter was flooded with Trump’s tweets where he attacked Colin Powell and General John Allen.
WH: Why would you question a four-star general?
Trump in 2016: https://t.co/NKXPYhvRcE
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) October 20, 2017
.@PressSec just said "to go after a four-star Marine General" is "highly inappropriate."
Gen. John Allen is a four-star Marine General. https://t.co/pFVEHoeWaR
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) October 20, 2017
how is there always a tweet https://t.co/T3wUCWmJ3N
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) October 20, 2017
It is not the first time that the White House has doubled down when it should have instead accepted its mistake and moved on. Now that their own statement has backfired, it would be interesting to see how Donald Trump and his team respond to his very personal attacks on military personnel and retired four-star generals.
[Featured Image by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images]