Frederica Wilson 2015 video shows John Kelly got it wrong

CNN's Jake Tapper: Kelly 'laying rhetorical body blows' and 'insulting' Rep Wilson with his remarks

On Thursday, Kelly said he had advised Trump against making the calls to the fallen soldiers' families, but that the president eventually chose to express his condolences "in the best way that he could".

Kelly called Wilson an "empty barrel" on Thursday in a rare appearance in the White House briefing room and criticized her for her speech at the 2015 event. "President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband", Cowanda Jones-Johnson said.

In fact, the chief of staff said that when Trump took office, he advised him against making those calls: "I said to him, 'Sir there's nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families'".

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended White House chief of staff John Kelly Friday after he made erroneous claims about a Democratic congresswoman the day before.

Wilson said Kelly's comment was a fabrication, that she wasn't even a member of Congress when the funding for the building was approved. La David Johnson, who was killed in Niger. At one point, he scolded Rep. Wilson for supposedly bragging about getting securing funding for an Federal Bureau of Investigation field office in 2015. "And I don't like to be dragged into something like that", she said.

It was later confirmed by a White House official that Obama did not call Kelly, but he did host him and his wife at a breakfast held for Gold Star families six months after Robert Kelly's death.

"I didn't say what that congresswoman said, didn't say it at all", Trump told reporters Tuesday when asked.

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"It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation, absolutely stuns me".

It appears, according to General Kelly, he did.

"I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing", Kelly said. "He knew what the possibilities were when he went to war". The family of Army Sergeant Jonathon Hunter, who was killed in an August suicide bombing in Afghanistan, was told to expect a call from Trump.

Kelly personally absolved Trump of blame in his call to the family of Sgt. Mark Hunter, the father, said the call never came. Those calls, he said as he fought back tears, were the most important.

But Trump wanted to make the calls, and asked Kelly for advice on what to say. But in doing so General Kelly, a respected retired Marine Corps general, admitted without question that his boss had lied to the press.

Kelly said it was this message that Trump was trying to convey to Johnson's widow in his own way. Of those families who agreed to speak, about nine said they had contact with the president while nine others said they had not.

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